Jay Black: Coping with my first weekend without sports—ever

I need a hug.

We all need a hug. Unfortunately, we can’t get a hug because that is now considered unnecessary roughness in a world that’s forced to bend the knee to COVID-19.

It was weird. It was strange. It’s a new normal.

We are still in the infancy of this pandemic, but the loss of our games is the most visible representation of what we are dealing with and what will most assuredly get worse. For the first time in my life, there was not a game to watch in this country. Unless you count watching me hack it around at my local golf course.

If we want to watch any competition, we will have to do it ourselves. We can’t count on the professionals for a while. So amateur golf and fishing, you’re up. Maybe tennis too.

I’ve been asked a lot lately, “Jay you’re the sports director, what are you going to do without sports?”

I have no idea. I still don’t

This weekend is one of the peaks of the sports calendar. This time of year is my time of year.

With conference tournaments and Braves’ spring training and Atlanta’s NASCAR race and The PLAYERS Championship and most importantly Selection Sunday to kickoff March Madness, this is a great time to be alive.

Except when it isn’t. It’s all gone.

Instead, I played a little golf. Did a lot of cleaning. Watched a lot of movies, which includes Frozen 2 (this is where we are at people. A single match watching Frozen. I have two unofficial nieces, so I figured it’s time to learn what they are excited about). I did squeeze in time to watch the only sport that was on TV. UFC. I knew the only way I’d be able to watch two women pounding each other’s head in was if it was the last sport on Earth.

Welp. Guess what I did for about 10 minutes. Those women leave a lot of blood on a mat.

I spent the first part of this great sports weekend telling everyone what’s not going to happen. There will be no March Madness. No Final Four in Atlanta. No MLB, no NBA, no MLS. No nothing.

Then at 10:04 am Friday I had to break in on the radio and report that mother of all spring events – the Masters – would not be played in April.

It was a sports fans knockout blow. Augusta National cedes its spring time authority to no man or beast. Just a disease.

For the first time since World War II, the only people who get to see the azaleas in bloom this year are the members.

Maybe they can tweet a picture. Or maybe not. It might hurt too much.

Opening day might not come until Memorial Day. Unbelievable. Truly unbelievable.

And by the way, the NCAA tournament has never been cancelled. Not even for a war. Yet, this is sort of starting to feel like a war, isn’t it?

There are no games, people are scared, stores are rationing high demand items.

This is the first time my generation or the previous one (I’m sort of a millennial, I’ll turn 35 on April 9th. That would have been round one of the Masters. I still need a hug) has ever had to suffer or sacrifice like this. All the norms that have always been there aren’t now.

It will be a while before anyone goes back to school or work. The economy will take a massive hit.

Whether you believe the worst is yet to come or not, no doubt, we will know the struggles the greatest generation did. The only question is, how long will our day to day lives be thrown into turmoil.

As the internet meme goes, they were called to fight. We are called to sit.

Sports matter. They aren’t life or death, but they are close. When they are gone, it’s just wrong.

Cancelling everything was the right move. Maybe postponement would have been better, but I can’t criticize someone for doing the right thing. What do I know? I’m not a doctor, just a sports guy.

But it can always be worse.

I had to have a conversation with my parents this weekend. But me, my brother and my sister stood in the yard and made them stay on the porch. They are over 60 and considered very at risk to catch this thing.

For the first time in my life I was scared to go inside the home I grew up. That’s 100 times worse than no ball on TV.

What I will do this weekend? No clue. More golf I hope. But March Madness was supposed to start if you didn’t know.

Hopefully it’s just a strange couple of months and we can pick up where we left off.

Until then, excuse me if I sit in the corner and whimper just for a moment at noon on Thursday when the NCAA tournament should be on my TV.

All sports fans will still need a hug.

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