The first thing I did on Thursday morning was check the college basketball conference tournament schedule, and to my slight surprise, the full schedule was on tap. It was a day I had been looking forward to for a while. Prepared with several take-out options and a case of Oktoberfest I put aside months prior, I was all set for wall-to-wall action from noon until late into the night for the next several days. Oh, it was going to be glorious.
Just minutes prior to noon as I was set to flip on the Michigan-Rutgers game, I received a text from a friend and immediately knew what he was going to tell me — the Big Ten, along with several other tournaments, had been canceled. Somehow, St. John’s and Creighton tipped off at noon. I sat and watched my second-favorite conference tournament, knowing this would be the last game, and likely would be canceled at any moment. At some point just before halftime I stepped away from the TV to use the restroom and let my dog out. By the time I made it back to the TV, they were airing the previous night’s game between St. John’s and Georgetown. I knew it was all over — no more conference tournaments, no Big Dance, no sporting events of any type for a while.
Although there were games played in front of packed arenas just last week, the thought of 107,000 blue and white clad faithful gathering in a few months already seems kind of unfathomable. I sure hope I’m wrong, but it’s starting to set in — we’re preparing for a world with no sports, and it could be a while until our next fix.
The last, and only, time I remember sporting events being canceled/postponed was the week following 9/11. About a week later, they were back, giving us a reason to gather and begin to heal. This time around, it’s unknown when we’ll have sports back not only as a nice distraction, but as the common ground our society severely needs. Maybe it’s the NBA Playoffs and a late Opening Day for MLB...maybe it’s much longer than that.
However long it may be, BSD will be here. It’s an odd time for us, as everything we had been covering ended so abruptly. Just like that, Penn State’s long overdue return to the NCAA Tournament vanished, along with the hockey team’s hopes for the Frozen Four. The national title hopes for lacrosse are out the window, along with the wrestling squads bid for yet another national championship banner. There will be no Blue-White Game, nor spring practice to update on who is turning heads, poised for a breakout season on the gridiron.
With sports news sparse for now, expect things to slow down here for the next week or two. Besides, there are more important things that need everyone’s attention right now. But we’re already planning for what things will look like around here for the next few months, and looking forward to some creative solutions during these unusual circumstances.
The most important thing is that our community will remain together, sports or no sports. It’s been an honor and a joy to be part of this community, and it brings me great solace that we’ll continue to be together as the world changes around us in uncertain ways. We’ll continue to be here for you, as you will for us. We’ll always be together, even if we’re far apart.