Morning, friends. Happy … what day is it again? Tuesday? Saturday? Who even knows anymore?
Every day brings a new disappointment now, but the news yesterday that Wimbledon was canceled — not postponed, canceled — hit me hard. I love Wimbledon, even if I’m more about Cap’n Crunch than strawberries and cream on a Sunday morning. So losing it for a year was bad enough. But the fact that it means the sports calendar has now been wiped clean all the way into July … that was the real kicker.
Trying to wrap your mind around this pandemic is like starting a hundred-yard dash … only to be told, no, sorry, it’s a mile run … no, wait, you’re going for a 10K … sorry, you’re staying out here for 13.1 miles … yeah, it’s up to a full marathon now … what’s that? You’re not prepared for a marathon? You didn’t train? Tough luck, friend, you’re in it now. No turning back.
There’s no way around this: the next few weeks … or months … or seasons … are going to hurt. Financially, emotionally, spiritually, it’s going to be devastating. All we’re talking now is how to mitigate damage, not avoid it.
Like you, I’ve had some dark days. Me, I’m a sportswriter in a world where there are no sports! What the hell am I contributing right now, huh?
But here’s the thing: sports right now are unimportant, but they’re certainly not irrelevant. Sports aren’t life-and-death — which is a good thing for Cleveland fans — but they’re a dress rehearsal for the real thing. The conflicts we see played out on the field, the challenges we see our favorite players overcome … why else do we invest ourselves in those if not to draw on a little of that strength, a little of that triumph — a Tiger Woods fist pump, a Patrick Mahomes no-look, a Steph Curry tear drop — in moments when we need it? And man, there hasn’t been a time in anyone’s living memory that we need it more than right now.
I was at the grocery store yesterday afternoon, rolling this column around in my head. My state’s about to drop the hammer on a shelter-in-place order, and the shelves were already stripped down to off-brand beans and cardboard-crust pizza. Masks were everywhere, and so was a looming, low-hanging sense of dread.
And yet, right there in the middle of it all, I saw a woman wearing a shirt that read, TODAY IS A GOOD DAY. Really. She chose to wear that. In the midst of all this. I wanted to hug her, but, you know, social distancing and all … so I settled for a thumbs-up from a safe distance away.
It’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to be quick. It’s not going to be without pain. And we’re not going to look back on these days and laugh. But we will get through them. And when we do, when we head back to the ballparks and the courts and the courses and the tracks … we’ll never take any of it for granted again.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him with tips, story ideas, etc. at email@example.com.
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