The sports column about COVID-19 and you |

The sports column about COVID-19 and you

So what do we do now?

Yes, an empty soccer stadium in Argentina requires us to sing, "Don't cry for me Argentina." Humor and a sense of community will get us through a sports-less time and COVID-19.
Gustavo Garello | AP photo

I still don’t get the toilet paper.

While I consume a ton of news, I caught myself earlier this week at the grocery store, looking at empty shelves, asking myself, “Am I misinterpreting the new coronavirus?”

Why the TP, people?

And, as a recovering alcoholic, I think a neat, new drinking game would be to take a shot every time the phrase or variant of, “out of an abundance of caution,” is used. We’d all be smashed.

As for those who think that COVID-19 is a fiendishly clever plot to topple President Donald Trump, well, you’re assuming competence not in evidence within the Democratic Party and its supposed ally, the godless media.

Yes, this has been the week that the fecal matter has hit the cooling device in the United States, and the world of sports has been the messenger to a lot of us. The moment the NBA shut down on Wednesday evening was the “holy cow” moment, for lack of a better phrase.

Technically World Cup skiing, a big deal in our bubble yet not nationally, preceded it, but when everything else — the NCAA, NHL, MLB, PGA and the XFL, oh the humanity, and yes, high school sports — followed in 24 hours, well, the question arises, “What in the heck are we going to do now?”

We need sports at times like these. Remembering back to 9/11, I’ll admit it. I wanted the NFL and college football to play that weekend. We needed a break from the nonstop news, the replays of the planes crashing into the towers, and impending anthrax.

That the players didn’t want to play and assorted stadia across the country likely needed upgraded safeguards after the attacks are beside the point.

Maybe it’s because I listen to an unhealthy dose of “The Paul Finebaum Show” on ye olde internet or read the comments section of The Athletic, but there’s a lot of “this is no worse than the regular flu and the games should go on” sentiment.

My first reaction is that a little Darwinism isn’t the worst thing in the world for humanity. (Bad Freud.) I also know I shouldn’t read too much of any comments section. (There are a lot of tough guys behind anonymous keyboards.)

There’s also the kernel that “this is no worse than the regular flu” is simply not true. We like to debate in sports — like Joe Montana is an infinitely better quarterback than John Elway, for example.

There’s no debating coronavirus. People like immunologist Anthony Fauci are holding the floor and the rest of us don’t have a say. This is not a time for alternate facts.

One of the reasons we love the sports we’re missing right now is the sense of community they bring. When we talk about our favorite teams, we talk in the plural. It’s, “We’re playing the Patriots. We beat the Patriots or the Cowboys.” When teams finally climb the mountain top after long droughts, say like the Cubs, Red Sox and the Giants (ahem), it’s we won.

In sports, we’re all a part of something bigger than ourselves, something required in the present situation. Sure, most of us under 60 might get the virus, feel like we have the flu and will get over it, but others won’t.

Sports and other activities that attract large crowds need to go on hiatus because of our moms and dads who are more chronologically mature. (Don’t call your 76-year-old, vodka-swilling Giants fan of a mom old, Freud.) It’s not just everyone’s family. It’s your friends who have other health conditions that likely make them more susceptible to this thing.

Sports will come back in due time, perhaps when all abundant caution has been observed. Drink, everyone.

In the meantime, you can occupy yourself by trying to find that elusive roll of toilet paper.

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