As I started writing this yesterday afternoon, the Giants had just signed cornerback James Bradberry, were in the hunt for (and signed) linebacker Blake Martinez and were reportedly seriously in pursuit of Jadeveon Clowney, the best edge rusher available on the NFL free agent market.
Such news was everything. And nothing.
I always keep the Twitter timeline running on my computer. Yesterday, NFL free agency was what constituted breaking sports news. While all other sports are on hold, football teams started the process of trying to improve their rosters. Each new signing was like a final score coming in.
The Giants are the only team I really root for. Take all the others that I am a fan of and I would gladly have them all go winless for the Giants to go unbeaten.
So some NFL news should have come like drops of water in a desert. But it just didn’t seem right. Every NFL related tweet was followed by several with more anxiety-inducing coronavirus news.
It all seemed like a microcosm of our new and ever-changing world order. Sports are everything. And nothing. A week ago the CIAC cancelled the winter sports season, turning the state high school sports community apoplectic. The next day hundreds of students protested outside of the CIAC’s headquarters in Cheshire.
Forty-eight hours later the CIAC, or more accurately the member schools, for which the organization took the hit, looked like a leader rather than a follower.
We are pretty much still in the same cycle. The CIAC is holding a meeting tomorrow about the status of spring sports. It is unknown whether it will end with a defined gameplan in what is a fluid situation.
Already, some high school sports social media accounts are starting petitions urging the CIAC to postpone and not cancel spring sports. It seems both extremely tone deaf and an understandably desperate act by students, seniors especially, seeing rites of passage disappearing like a blur.
It is obvious a good portion of society has still not come to terms with a pandemic that will end up taking an unknown number of lives. That it is better to be over- than underprepared.
At the same time, you have high school seniors who are dealing with what to them is the unthinkable. Will they have a final prom? A formal graduation? Will they share another school day with lifelong friends?
For the athletes, will there be another practice, another game, another at-bat? Another state tournament?
I, like all small business owners, understand the apprehension. My media company revolves around covering the FCIAC. Will The Ruden Report still be there when the next games are played?
If not before, we now know how immersed we are in sports and how central they are in our lives. The past few days, without any live games, has left a tremendous void.
Imagine the distraction and entertainment March Madness, the NBA, NHL and spring training would provide, the escape we would get, the improvement to the mental health of people who can’t turn away from the 24-hour news channels.
March Madness is by far my favorite sporting event. I put in 13-hour days the first weekend, with trips to the gym planned around the game that is of least interest. Sunday, when the brackets would have been revealed, I was finishing up my taxes.
For athletes, coaches, fans, the media, administrators and front office personnel, at every level, sports play an important role.
As far as the CIAC’s meeting tomorrow, which has the state high school sports world on edge, I think the preferred route would be to postpone, wait and see. If so, that can be overruled by school superintendents. Or the governor. While everyone was lambasting the CIAC last week, its move was due to the decisions of member schools.
Right now, a spring sports season of any duration is everything.
Until you turn on CNN for an hour. Then it is nothing.