Fair to say that it’s quite ironic I would finally get back into sports blogging in the midst of an unprecedented era in sport’s history. Only someone as crazy as myself would jump back on the wagon when nearly every organized sports event you could think of across the nation has been either suspended or outright cancelled due to the outbreak of the COVID-19/Coronavirus.

Nevertheless, here I am.

Everything from local high school winter/spring sports to College Basketball’s March Madness and the NBA, Major League Hockey, spring training in Major League Baseball, to the remainder of the 2019-20 spring season for college athletics all either postponed indefinitely or cancelled.

Uncertainty surrounds the immediate future of professional sports and highly anticipated events such as the Master’s at Augusta National Golf Club and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Earlier today, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced an agreement with IOC [International Olympics Committee] President Thomas Bach was reached to postpone the Olympics until no later than summer 2021. The decision comes a few days after both Canada and Australia pulled out of Tokyo 2020. The games were originally slated for July 24-Aug. 9 of this year.

We simply don’t know when things will return to normal…or our new reality of normal. The idea that professional sports could resume, but potentially without fans in attendance has been mentioned more than once. Initially, the NCAA announced this precaution for March Madness before it was called off completely days later.

Obviously more important things in life are being interrupted as well. But as an avid sports fan and journalist who has covered sports for over a decade, it really seems surreal to see it all come to a screeching halt. Make no mistake about, I agree with these tough decisions and think they were made at appropriate times in the best interests for public safety. But man, I sure do miss sports.

I’ve always said you’d be hard pressed to find something that brings people together or tears them apart quite like sports. For many, its a way of life and for coaches, players, game officials and trainers alike, it’s their livelihood. For fans, often it is a great temporary escape from the other toils and snares of life. All of that has now been put on hold and our much-needed break from the 24/7 news cycle of crime, politics and the upcoming presidential election is gone–for now. It’s become harder to detach from it all the past couple of weeks.

My, oh my, how we take for granted March Madness or even that midweek non-conference college baseball or softball game. Shoot, I’d settle for a high school football spring scrimmage from some random Class 5A squad in Oklahoma at this point.

I feel for not only all involved with sports but especially those seniors who have blinked and now potentially played their final game as a college or high school athlete. I also think of sports reporters across the nation, especially those small town newspaper or news stations guys and girls who now really have to dig in for exciting and relevant content each day for their readers with game and practices shut down indefinitely.

But of course the domino effect of this pandemic is far bigger than any sport, game, event or single person. Lives are being lost due to COVID-19 by the hundreds on a daily basis across the world. Reports have shown none of us are immune to the virus—be it directly or indirectly. People in various industries are being sent home without pay or insurance left and right. Just imagine losing your income AND insurance in the middle of a pandemic when you live month-to-month. Makes the annoyance of the local Chick-Fil-A being temporarily closed seem pretty….minuscule and selfish, no?

Yet, it seems a chunk of the population still isn’t taking this thing serious. I’m not just throwing shade at the younger folks, either. Maybe somehow this hasn’t really become personal for them yet, but at this rate, I can promise it will. Perhaps that special event, concert or party they were looking forward to will be cancelled. Perhaps they, too, will find themselves suddenly without a job. Or maybe, they’ll have to watch a loved ones’ funeral via Facetime or livestream online due to crowd restrictions.

Times are tough but if we all work together and do our part, we can overcome this. However, as a country and as a world, we are only as strong as our weakest link. Let’s set aside any and all differences for the greater good so we can #FlattenTheCurve.

Do your part.

Stay home as much as possible. Read a book–heck, write your own book, start a DIY home project (that you already have the supplies for!!!), binge watch Netflix and Hulu, take a nap, do some yard work (if you can handle the pollen). Avoid crowds and “hanging out” with friends and anyone outside of your household if at all possible.

If you don’t feel well, stay at home. If you feel better than you have in 10 years, still stay at home. If you learn you’ve been around someone who is/hasn’t been feeling well, monitor you health, contact your medical provider and STAY AT HOME. If you must go out, keep your distance from others and as soon as you’re done, STAY AT HOME.

Pray for our world. Remember all of those first responders, doctors/nurses and all medical personnel who are on the front lines of this war. They are doing their best working extra hours to take care of patients on top of the usual work load of sickness, emergencies and all that comes through the front doors of medical buildings around the world. Keep hope that our elected officials both locally, at the state and national level to be strong and make the appropriate and timely decisions needed with public health in mind. Think about our educators who are having to restructure their plans and approaches with classes moving 100 percent online. Remember your neighbor.

At this point it is very hard to say when we will return to normalcy in every day life or the world of sports. We are all hoping it is sooner rather than later but without a full team effort from us all, it will only take longer before we can resume our regular routines.

I’m excited to be back in the blogging world and hope that by the time mid-summer rolls around, we have so many things to watch and keep up with that it’ll make our heads spin. With that will also be a healthier and more united country as well.

Until then, stay safe out there.