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A second week with too much time for this sports editor to think

A second week with too much time for this sports editor to think A second week with too much time for this sports editor to think

A couple of weeks ago, it was looking like the end of the boys basketball season locally was going to overlap with the start of indoor track meets and could get real close to a long-planned trip to Florida with Medford softball players and parents. Plus an early spring was looking possible weather-wise.

At that time, I may have made a comment in the news room that a little longer break between the winter and spring sports seasons would make life easier.

So if this is all my fault for speaking out loud, I’m really sorry.

Now well into week two of the great American shutdown, I’m guessing I’m no different than most people. The uncertainty of how long life is going to be like this has to be one of the hardest parts. Unless, of course, you have a loved one who has been hit by the COVID-19 virus. In those cases, life has taken a scarier, and hopefully temporary, turn.

It is difficult to not have a hard target date to shoot for. Are we talking weeks or are we talking months?

Then we have a day like Monday where our governor announces he’s tightening the restrictions on state “nonessential” businesses to combat the virus and then our president talks that same evening about how America has to open back up for business as soon as possible.

So which way are we going? Are we close to being done or is the worst still to come?

And if I’m a business owner, does being told I’m “non-essential” feel a bit insulting?

I’m not a super planner, and I already think this is hard not knowing what’s ahead. I can only imagine what this is like for people who are uber planners and have things mapped out months ahead of time. Indefinitely is a pretty scary word. When you see major events like the Olympics and Summerfest being postponed months ahead of time, you know this is serious.

I feel for all of America’s senior students, whether at the high school or college level, who are losing out on the graduation experience this spring. With each passing day, more universities give up on the idea of holding a ceremony this spring and I assume area high schools aren’t far behind, although with two months to go, the non-planner in me would like to see schools hold off a bit on making that call. The planners who get paid to make these decisions may disagree. It is what it is.

Last week I talked briefly about senior athletes not getting the chance to end their careers properly. Now it’s the overall senior experiences that are lost that have me thinking this week. There’s a lot of buildup and “lasts” that go into these final few weeks of a senior’s school year. From an entire life point of view, a lot of it probably goes in the “non-essential” category. But for seniors living in the now, “senior” things are big deals. To not get those last few weeks among friends at your high school or university stinks.

The other hard part for all of us is losing normalcy and missing things you didn’t expect would be gone just two or three weeks ago. You suddenly learn to appreciate normal, which can obviously be taken away from you at any moment for a variety of reasons, many of which are worse than the governor telling you to stay home from work or school for awhile. There are people who thrive when life throws them for a loop. I’m finding out I’m not one of them.

The annual sports calendar is what drives much of this sports editor’s normalcy, so not having the NCAA tournament, the end of what had been a fabulous season for the Milwaukee Bucks or the start of Major League Baseball’s season this week and not getting started on prep spring season previews is hard. Watching the snow melt in such small increments isn’t helping either although that’s pretty much an annual occurrence around here at this time of year. March Madness is always that nice bridge that can get you through winter’s last-ditch efforts to wear out its welcome.

It was fun to see some NCAA classics on television last weekend. I spent Monday night skimming through recordings of Wisconsin’s run to second place in the 2015 tournament and was reminded of how good that team was, how exhilarating the semifinal win over Kentucky was and how much the championship loss to Duke hurt. Man, that team was special. I hope this is the last time I ever see and hear the words “Grayson Allen.”

Fandom for me has always been about the grind of going through the schedule and marking the ups and downs for teams and athletes within that schedule. Build up the next game a little bit, break it down as it happens, analyze a bit afterwards, what does it mean in today’s big picture and then move on to the next. With multiple games and leagues to follow, there’s never really a break.

Until now. No games, no normalcy and no end in sight.


Matt Frey is the Sports Editor at The Star News.


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