GLADWIN – It all seems like a blur. Less than two weeks ago I was watching the Gladwin basketball team taking on Tawas in the second round of the boys basketball tournament and anticipating the spring seasons. Now I spend a good portion of my time researching pandemics and contemplating the effects of a virus that was virtually unknown at the start of the basketball season. Without the Covid-19 virus I would be writing season preview articles while seniors would be looking forward to prom, parties and graduation. Life seemed so much easier two weeks ago. 

My own schedule revolved around Tuesdays, the day our paper goes to press. It had become a comfortable routine. Attend sporting events all week then scramble on Monday and Tuesday to get the stories written. The relief on Tuesday afternoon was amazing. Looking back on it, “life was simple.”

Now there is no routine and nothing feels comfortable. With the virus continuing to spread it’s hard to anticipate when life will return to normal. When it does we will have a lot to process. What lessons will we have learned and will sports ever return to the primacy they enjoyed before this outbreak. 

The coronavirus is bigger than sports. National emergencies always are. We cancelled games for a time following the 9/11 attacks, but it was a long time until things returned to normal. But did they? In many ways it hasn’t. Pre 9/11, when I was patted down before entering Spartan Stadium the security teams were looking for alcohol, now they are searching for weapons. Life was different then.

What is our new normal going to look like? Will we feel uncomfortable when the person sitting next to us coughs or sneezes? I’m sure over time, our arenas and stadiums will be full again. I know I will return as soon as we are allowed. Sports have a way of bringing us together and providing a diversion in troubled times. Sometimes they bring out our worst, but more often they reveal our best. 

I am sure that most people will bounce back quickly once the all clear is given. We will never get tired of watching our kids and grandkids in action. We will always feel the pull on our heartstrings when our alma maters are playing for a title. We will still line up to cheer when one of our teams or athletes returns home with a championship. The times may not be simpler, but for a short time at least, sports can make us feel normal. 

I am looking forward to that day.

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