The sports world, at least as far as action goes, is empty.
And there’s a certain feeling of emptiness in the rest of us, too.
These are supposed to be some of the best days of the year for a sports fan because winter high school sports are coming to a championship climax, college sports are at a fever pitch and professional basketball and hockey are firing up, while spring sports like baseball, track and golf are usually just now taking off.
I feel that empty feeling and so does the rest of our sports staff. They look forward to this time of year like so many fans and players. We’re used to racing from one venue to another, or from the Corn Palace back to the office to summarize what happened and package it for readers on our website and in our print edition.
Frankly, there’s traditionally a lot to keep track of this time of year. We’re used to pounding out numerous stories in March about what’s happening with our favorite tournaments. But right now, keeping track isn’t too hard, and none of the news is very fun.
And it doesn’t matter how small or large the event is, it’s been shelved. One of the most, frankly wild, sporting events on our local calendar each year is the AAU youth wrestling regional tournament that takes place at the Corn Palace, where hundreds of children wrestle for the chance to go to the state tournament. All of the organizers do a great job, but it’s pandemonium for the average person watching, with matches taking place all over the building.
Everyone reading this column knows where sports stands in the grand scheme of what’s important right now. Safety is rightfully winning out and as has been said by our disease experts earlier this week, if all of these cancelations and postponements go down as overreactions, that means they worked.
Empty spaces in the trophy cases and blank entries in the record books are going to stand out for decades to come, but this entire coronavirus crisis has driven home the context of sports in our greater world. Because we don’t have any games to follow or teams to watch right now, we will be more grateful for what sports means to us when those contests eventually come back.
We wanted to take some space here to explain that The Daily Republic will continue to write about whatever is going on in sports on a regular basis. We’re going to be stretching some muscles that will be different for this time of year, and that will be a daunting but exciting challenge. There are always more stories to be covered outside of the traditional field of play, and that’s what our sportswriters will be asked to go find and write about. (If you have an interesting story idea, feel free to send me a note or give us a call.)
Some stalwarts of our sports pages will go on hiatus for a while. Our “Today” box will go on hiatus as long as local events are not taking place and our Sports on TV and Scoreboard listings will appear less frequently. When the games start again, those features will return.
This year is not a particularly fun time for sports fans and the people who cover these games, but we’re grateful for what we will gain from it. We’re thankful for our readers, now and always.