Sports are canceled, and I’m NOT OK. Five alternatives for fans amid coronavirus

Sports are canceled because of coronavirus, and I’m not OK.

This has been an unprecedented week in the history of American sports. Professional basketball, hockey, baseball and soccer in America have all been postponed through the end of March, possibly later. European soccer, golf and tennis have also been suspended. The NCAA spring and winter sport championships are canceled for 2020.

No world war, health crisis or emergency have put sports on hold like covid-19 is doing now. And that leaves sports fans with a sad dilemma we have never faced before – there are no games to watch.

I am the guy who fills my free time watching sports, sometimes two or three at a time. Chances are if you are reading this, you are too. We love sports, from the games to the players, from the storylines to the 24/7 commentary on ESPN. Sports fill our lives with joy, and for the foreseeable future, they are gone.

So, what do we do? How do we fill this gaping hole? Well, I have prepared a survival guide for sports fans that will get us through to April and (hopefully) the eventual return of the games we love.

Step 1: Subscribe to Disney+

(If you haven’t already but come on, we all did for Mandalorian right?). You are going to need a streaming service to binge watch sports movies and Disney+ has the best lineup.

Disney apparently has a monopoly on great sports movies, which is no surprise to anyone who has seen most of them. But trust me, even if you’re watching Remember the Titans and Secretariat for the third or 30th time, they will still help pull you through this difficult time.

Some might be new to you, like The Rookie or McFarland USA, but whether you want to laugh, cry or a little bit of both, sports movies will grip your heartstrings and satisfy that adrenaline rush sports provides.

Step 2: Get off your screens and read a book (yeah, a real one, with paper and page numbers).

There are a multitude of fantastic sports books available, from Michael Jordan: The Life, to Unbroken, which merges sports with World War II history. Just search your kindle or public library for biographies and autobiographies, and I promise you will recognize an athlete you know well.

Learn about their lives. Books let you dive into the mindset, decision making and struggles of athletes and sports-personalities, and when the games finally return, we will have an even greater appreciation for the athletes we watch.

Step 3: Go play (and listen to some sports podcasts while you’re doing it).

You may not break the world record for the 100-yard dash or score a game-winning bicycle kick, but you don’t have to be paid millions of dollars on national TV to enjoy playing sports. 

While you are on your run or in your driveway shooting hoops, make sure to check out Throwback, Sports Illustrated’s historical podcast about the rise of women’s soccer in America, or 30-for-30, the award-winning podcast series from ESPN, diving into unique and original sports stories throughout the decades.

Step 4: Detach from sports and get some perspective on life (it may sound impossible, but you can do it).

I am enjoying this break to catch up on some (non-sports) reading, finishing Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton biography and spending time hanging out with my friends (outside of Buffalo Wild Wings watching a game).

Not only will this detachment give us the opportunity to invest in other passions and people, it will make the return of sports so much sweeter.

Step 5: Get hype for sports’ return.

Think about the benefits that will come from sports being postponed. Your teams’ best player, out with an injury, has extra time to recover. 

For example, we might see Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving take the court together for the Brooklyn Nets this season, something NBA fans didn’t think was possible at the beginning of the season.

Plus, sports will go later into the year. Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, theorized that the NBA Finals might take place in August, a rare treat to experience some summer basketball.

Sports will return. With this five-step plan, the hours, days and weeks will fly by. Zion Williamson dunks, Cristiano Ronaldo headers, Mike Trout home runs and Tom Wilson hockey fights will be back before we know it.

The famous cliché says, “you don’t know what you have until its gone.” The absence of sports will remind us how important they truly are and will help us appreciate them more when they return. In the meantime, enjoy the break, and keep yourself and your loved ones safe. 

Wylie is the asst. sports editor for the Liberty Champion. Follow him on Twitter @chadewylie

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