Column: The world without sports

By W. BRIAN HALE, Eagle Sports Writer
Posted 3/17/20

Essentially, Sports Editor Johnathan Bentley and I have gone from feast to famine.

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Column: The world without sports

Posted

Essentially, Sports Editor Johnathan Bentley and I have gone from feast to famine.

Exactly one month ago on Monday, Feb. 16, we as a sports department were in the middle of high and exciting times.

I just wrapped-up a stint in Huntsville at the Von Braun Center covering the crowning of three state champions at the state wrestling tournament, while Johnathan was in the thick of the Jasper basketball team's historic run at the basketball regional.

Bevill State basketball looked great and appeared to be heading to its first ACCC Tournament appearance since the program restarted — and baseball and softball in our area would be in full swing in just a few weeks.

On the state and national scene, the NBA was in the middle of its All-Star break, the Daytona 500 was happening, conference tournaments in college basketball would lead to March Madness and soon I'd be on the road to Tuscaloosa and Auburn to cover KB Sides and Ashlee Swindle, our local SEC stars in softball.

Now....a fifth of any of the local events I just mentioned would be cause for celebration.

Last Saturday was our last day of prep baseball and softball at least until April. I was really looking forward to watching traditional softball powers Sumiton Christian and Hayden battle today at Aderholt Field — it would have served as a big final meal before the lean times ahead.

On Sunday those plans were shattered as schools decided to effectively close two days earlier than originally announced, taking all afterschool activities with them.

The NCAA has halted all sports — conference tournaments, March Madness, spring sports....done. The ACCC followed suit and shuttered baseball and softball, which means no Bevill State Bears softball to cover.

There's no NBA, MLB, and as of right now, no spring football. Looking through stories in the sports categories from the Associated Press, the few articles you'll find deal with more suspensions/postponing of play, how athletes are staying in shape while not able to perform or a dearth of NFL transactions/announcements.

Sports as we know it has ground to a complete halt.

It's unprecedented — there were times throughout my life in which sports on some level was momentarily disrupted, be it pro or collegiate sports. But no prep sports at this time of the year has never happened before.

I'm not here to place judgement on those who have made the tough decision to suspend sports competition at the respective levels they're responsible for. As I explained to my eldest daughter Lexi on Saturday night, we as a society are not practiced at dealing with a global plague.

As sad as it sounds, we're more practiced at going to war, dealing with destructive weather and economic downturns affecting our lives.

Flu epidemics in the 1950's and 1960's have been the most recent time we've dealt with world-wide illness, while that's not as nightmare-inducing as the dreaded 1918 flu outbreak that killed 20 to 50 million people worldwide.

If there's one bit of solace I can take from our visit from coronavirus it's that young people, from the athletes we cover to small children, have been spared except for a few very rare cases. That would take the tragedy to a different level most of us couldn't fathom.

Strangely enough, the coronavirus seems also to have another effect on us that that we may not readily see or in some cases, may not want to admit to. Regardless of political parties, financial status, religious affiliation or which team we root for, when it comes to this pandemic we're all in the same boat.  

———

W. Brian Hale is the Sports Writer for the Daily Mountain Eagle. He can be reached at brian.hale@mountaineagle.com