Sports are coming back and I’m thankful for so many reasons |

Sports are coming back and I’m thankful for so many reasons

Are you doing OK?

Yes it was a bleak year for the Denver Broncos, but wasn’t it terrific just to have sense of normalcy in life with the NFL returning to play? (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

It’s been a pretty wretched 10 months.

I am fully aware it’s been worse for roughly 389,000 Americans as of Friday. I will make every stipulation that in the bigger picture, 2020 and the first 15 days of 2021, have probably better to me than most, and I send a spirit of gratitude into the ether to whatever deity is listening.

But, hey, I’m a Freud. Sigmund is my great, great, great uncle. We pretty much invented self-examination as a profession and continue it.

In the last 10 months, there’s obviously been COVID-19, which, my bet is, has forced a lot of people to confront their mortality a bit, a harrowing experience for those who have not experienced it. (Pop died in 2006, so been there, done that, have the T-shirt.)

Again, in no way diminishing the bigger picture of those who have died, suffered a loss, experienced illness themselves and perhaps still have the aftereffects of the virus, those who have lost their jobs and so on, but I’ve been struggling and I’m not afraid to say it … now.

Sports going on hiatus rocked my world. Yes, it affected me personally and professionally. On the latter, yeah, I got furloughed for three months. This was not a surprise because you can only pay a reporter so long to write about nothing happening. The Daily did the right thing business-wise and still took care of my health care (thank you). I got to golf my brains out and the Daily brought me back (huzzah).

Yes, I missed the start of baseball, the NHL and NBA playoffs and March Madness in that order this spring. Baseball is constancy in my world. There’s always a game on and usually a San Francisco Giants game. (Seriously, on the night Pop died back in 2006, I flew back to San Francisco, and Mom and I just turned on the Giants game because it was the only thing normal in an overturned world.)

Normally, a LeBron James photo would be a gateway to an argument about whether he’s the greatest basketball player of all time. (We still go with Michael.) But, truthfully, after the last 10 months, we’re just happy he’s playing basketball. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

As much as I missed sports, I also missed myself. While I do plan to golf my brains out in retirement in a community where there is no snow, I was not ready for golf-a-palooza quite yet. The saying is “Cognito ergo sum,” I think, therefore, I am,“ and ”I write, therefore I am,“ applies to me. (Scribo ergo sum, apparently.)

I love going to sporting events, meeting people and writing about them. I miss this desperately. I’ve realized I miss people, be they my coworkers, coaches, players, refs, administrators and even fans. When I take my walk around Nottingham Lake and see a person, I say hello and then start talking their ear off, I’m so desperate for human interaction. (I apologize to my coworkers who only needed an answer to yes-or-no question and ended up hearing a 10-minute monologue on how I’m doing.)

Throw in turning 49 last month and feeling more and more of a Luddite in in our ever increasingly technological world — egad, the adventures of working from home — not being able to see my Mom for a year for fear of bringing COVID-19 to her (I finally got home without inflicting harm), not to mention the presidential election and its aftermath — regardless of one’s partisanship, we all can agree that our country is not in tremendous shape as we approach a transition next week — and I’m struggling.

I’m saying it and I can’t be the only one. I’m getting help. If you need help, please reach out to Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, SpeakUp ReachOut or call the Eagle Hope Center at 970-306-4673, Colorado Crisis Services at 844-493-8255 or text TALK to 38255.

OK, yes, I realize that this is in the sports section and this shouldn’t be a Freud therapy session. Sports are coming back and yes the vaccine is on its way.

The NFL has been dogged in pursuing a full season and is in its quarterfinals this week. (Football, be it NFL or NCAA, has been a hero for me. I can’t tell you how grateful I’ve been for MAC-tion, as well as the odd games on weird days because of COVID. Thank you, football.)

The NBA and NHL are starting their new seasons. College basketball is going. (Anyone else like those 3 p.m. Mountain time games?) Major League Baseball’s return hinges more on labor issues than COVID-19. Skiing — Go, Mikaela — golf and others have also returned. (I’m not a huge fan of the Masters in November, but we take what we can get.)

And the first official winter practices for high school winter sports start on Monday, even though I’d imagine basketball, hockey, skiing and wrestling have been practicing since November.

Will there be hiccups? Count on it, be it at the pro, college or high school level. But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and I’m finding it. I hope, if you’re struggling as well, you find it, too.

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