The great escape: Sports sidelined by coronavirus, but fans remain hopeful for comeback

Arenas abandoned.

Ballparks barren.

Stadiums silenced.

Springtime in the world of sports is usually filled with thrilling game winning threes, batting practice and rounding the bags; flush five irons on perfectly mowed fairways and die-hards who are hopeful that spring will bring signs of a new championship season.

In the wake of the coronavirus, sports in the public setting has itself been socially distanced in an effort to help flatten the curve.

The shock of these recent realities are throwing us off like a 59 mph knuckleball.

But why?

You could say there are more important issues to tackle.

This global pandemic is putting millions out of work, disrupting our economy.

Michiana businesses are shutting their doors one by one, uncertain if a reopening will ever happen.

So why am I talking to you about a pause in the sports world?

Because we feel for these athletes.

It’s an abrupt end to not only a semester, but a season, a career and a dream.

For leagues, teams and cities, these empty seats will leave a lasting mark well past our COVID-19 quarantine.

For us, the fans, the weekend warriors, it’s the void that grips us.

In times of unrest, uncertainty, and tragedy, it’s sports that we often turn to.

It’s hope that it gives us; togetherness that it shows us; joy it provides us.

And now without it, that emptiness we now see, we feel.

The coronavirus has and will continue to interrupt our lives, forcing you and me to shift our thinking, our schedules and our actions.

This new normal can and should serve a purpose for all of us.

To re-evaluate, re-group, re-think what’s important to us.

If you’re a sports fan like me, what we do know is what we continue to cling to:

We need sports. It’s medicine for our souls.

That is hope we can all look forward to.

That one day soon our arenas will once again ring of those deafening roars.

That our buddies will pat us on the back after sinking that putt for birdie.

Our favorite usher will greet us in Section 115 and we’ll yell ‘Go Cubs Go.’

And that familiar voice firing up 80,000 strong on a football Saturday in South Bend.

Sports. We miss you.

But we’ll see you soon.

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