By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
I’m going to level with you: At any given moment, there’s about a 65 percent chance I do not know what day of the week it is. I just don’t.
I’ve conditioned myself to file days into three categories; You have practice days, gamedays, and off days. (I’m just now beginning to realize that there’s a good chance I need to be in the office on these things called “Mondays” and “Wednesdays” so Felger can sit uncomfortably close to me and swear-yell at me for all of Facebook to watch.) This mindset aligns me with Norm McDonald’s character in “Billy Madison” more than any respectable 28-year-old should even consider making public knowledge, but it’s just a small part of the blissful ignorance that makes living in a sports-mad city a dream.
But now, with COVID-19 ravaging our world and every sports league putting their action on an indefinite suspension, these three days have been axed down to one for the foreseeable future.
And it’s the one we typically dread the most.
Even in the proper context of a mind-melting 24-hour news cycle, these last few days have felt like a complete blur.
We’ve gone from pro leagues underplaying the severity of this situation (the Flyers welcomed 19,000 fans to their building three hours after city officials warned them not to hold mass gatherings) to empty-arena proposals to full-on suspensions and cancelations of every pro league and tournament. Even the ones that generate nine figures and dominate TV ratings. (Those decisions from the NCAA alone should have been enough to silence the idea that this was all media-driven hyperbole. Nobody willingly loses millions as a bit to sell some extra Charmin and Purell.) You had a feeling this was all coming the moment a team doctor came rushing to the floor just moments before the Jazz and Thunder were supposed to tipoff on Wednesday, sure, but the immediate fallout of Rudy Gobert’s idiotic dare to the universe hasn’t made it feel any less surreal.
In times of uncertainty, you rely on the comfort of the familiar. But I was still walking to my car to head to Warrior Ice Arena when the league turned my practice day into an off day on Thursday. It’s the first of many in a calendar now full of PPDs. In terms of other now-departed comforts, I know I’m not stepping in a Sports Hub studio until Mar. 28 at the absolute earliest (please don’t touch my toys), The Hockey Show will feature a call-in, and The Sports Hub Sidelines is truly on the sidelines. I’ve already learned that I don’t have enough non-sports hobbies to hold me over, Barth has resorted to live-tweeting N-64 games, and I’m pretty sure Dolloff is in a doomsday bunker. Nothing to back that up, but he just seems like the type.
This is all a complete unknown for all of us as a team built to write and talk about sports.
And this is all completely unprecedented as people who have done nothing but enjoy every high and low of sports fandom.
Strikes and lockouts have wiped out days, months, and even seasons. They’ll do it again, too. Even if the NFL finds the labor peace that prevents a lockout of their own, the NHL’s good for one every 10 years and the clock is certainly ticking (welcome to the party, Seattle). Terrorist attacks and tragedies have put our cities on hold, sure, but they’ve always united us like never before upon their eventual returns. But our past experiences in these realms of uncertainty have typically affected just one sport or one city. But this, a nationwide, indefinite shutdown of every sport in every city? Again, unprecedented.
When it comes to the product itself, my hope is that the Bruins are back this season.
They’re the best team in the league, David Pastrnak is two strikes away from the first 50-goal season by a Bruin since Cam Neely accomplished the feat almost 20 years ago, and their core isn’t getting any younger. This group not having a real chance at Stanley Cup redemption would feel criminal. Whether or not the season resumes as a regular season or right into the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs feels irrelevant right now because you’ll take either one so long as it means hockey is back. The league has reportedly asked their arenas to remain available through the end of July. On Boston ice, that would turn the 2020 Stanley Cup Final into the league’s first-ever Slip N’ Slide Final, but again, you’d take it all the same because the only thing worse than a Presidents’ Trophy curse is a Presidents’ Trophy canceled out by a season wiped away entirely.
The Celtics, while not as dominant as their Garden bunkmates, are another team in a must-watch spot this spring, with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown finally looking like a one-two that could form a new East superpower that eventually helps cast the shadow of an 18th championship banner on the Garden parquet. Look at the current status of the NBA and its lack of a true superteam and this postseason might be this younger Celtic core’s best shot at actually making a run to the Finals. Their Brooklyn thievery — along with Danny Ainge’s other pick-hoarding moves — almost means less every year this doesn’t happen.
These are selfish takes, yeah, but nobody’s ever devoted their life to sports just hoping we all have some regular-season fun.
They’re also hopes and nothing more at this point with this pandemic seemingly getting worse by the day, and with the long-term health (in every sense of the word) of the country obviously trumping any potential playoff run or parade.
But this legitimate uncertainty has left us coming back to one daunting question: What do we do now? I mean, besides the obvious of wash your hands and everything else for that matter? (Basically apply the lessons taught in “If You Must” by Del The Funky Homosapien to your everyday life.) Does anybody know?
What do you possibly do when your reliable distractions from the real world are paused by the real world and you’re put in a societal timeout of presently-endless off days?
Right now, that’s simple: whatever it takes to get those other days back. Which, at this very moment, is a whole lot of nothin’.
What day is it, anyway?