I Miss Sports

“I Miss Sports”
I really miss sports.
O.K., there, I said it. Boy, do I feel better.
I have been holding it in and just trying to suppress it. Trying to act like it doesn’t bother me all that much.
Trying to convince myself that now I have more time to read…to study…to do projects around the house. Some of that may be true (not the projects around the house) but it doesn’t make me feel any better.
I thought…”Maybe this time off will show me that sports is just a multi-billion dollar industry for extremely talented people who don’t know what real life is like and don’t care about the fans and all the owners and players care about is money and really, what does it matter anyway?” Well, I haven’t been shown that yet.
In the big scheme of things who cares if the Mets win and the Yankees lose? If the Rangers don’t make the playoffs? If LeBron goes for another title with another team? If Tiger gets another Masters win? If Roger can win another major? Apparently, I do.
Every February I get so excited that baseball camp opens…the “Grapefruit League” begins and every team has a chance to go to the World Series. Pitchers and catchers report and the promise of a long summer lies ahead. Every year I write about the eternal hope of new life that comes with each baseball season. And now…that hope is slowly dying as the promise of a season slowly fades with each passing Phil Murphy press conference.
I always say that this time of year is the best for a sports fan. Baseball is beginning. March Madness captures the attention of the country. The NFL draft is taking place. Basketball and hockey are heading into the playoffs. The Master’s Golf tournament with all its beauty and history passes on the Green Jacket to a newly crowned winner. Tennis is in full swing with the French Open in May, followed by Wimbledon in June. The Boston Marathon is run in April and the Kentucky Derby with all its pageantry takes off in May. Now, all of these seasons, all of these sporting events are on hold or postponed or canceled. The whole spring sporting season whizzes by like an Indianapolis 500 race car.
And I am talking primarily professional sports here. Never mind all the college and high school athletes who lose out. Some of them are seniors who will never be able to play on that level again. And the young kids who fill the baseball, soccer and lacrosse fields are home trying to make do with what they can do.
I am not talking about life and death here. I get it and believe me, I am keeping it in perspective. There are much more important things than sports.
But sports is a lifeline for me. A lifeline from my father to me and from me to my son. It is part of the Creange fabric. I didn’t ask for it, I was born into it and for better or for worse it has become a big part of my life. We don’t watch a whole lot of television but we do watch a lot of sports. There is always a game on. One season bleeds into another. I share it with Susan. I share it with my friends and my family. Our sons-in-law are big sports fans so we share it with them. I go to sporting events with family and friends and it is a time of bonding and togetherness. It is a shared experience with shared stories and memories.
So it is a loss and whatever they are talking about in trying to have some semblance of a season does not look like anything I am familiar with. It won’t “feel like” what its supposed to feel like. I saw in South Korea they have started their baseball season with cardboard cutouts of fans in the seats. Cardboard cutouts! I am supposed to get excited about a Peter Alonzo home run (or Susan get excited about an Aaron Judge home run) as it bounces off a cutout photographer and ricochets off a cutout beer guy?
So, I put on my Mets shirt today. I wore it in honor of fellow sports fans and fellow Mets fans. Especially Steve and Donna Bolster. I wore it in honor of Pat DeLuca who loved the Mets too. (Plus, it was his shirt but Nancy gave it to me). I wore it today in hopes that sports will return soon. In fact, i’m pretty sure that sports will be an indicator of society as a whole. When sports resume to the capacity that they were prior to COVID-19 then I will know that things are back to normal.
That may be in a few months. Or in a few years. Or never. It may be the new normal. I sure hope not.
So there are a lot of big losses. Major losses. Loss of life, loss of finances. Loss of dreams. Those are the ones that we really grieve over. But there are smaller, less significant losses. Losses of entertainment and recreation. Losses of community and togetherness. Yet, those losses have a lot of collateral damage as well. And when those little losses mount up one after the other…and your old way of life shifts in small but impactful ways…then those cumulative losses become big too.
Its not the most important thing in the world. I can’t tell you that God cares one way or another if sports returns or not. (I do tend to think He is a Yankees fan). I hope I don’t sound too selfish or ignorant in saying it. But I really do miss sports.
What do you think?
How does it make you feel?
Pastor Steven