As if there was anything else to write about this week, of course I’m going to talk about the impact coronavirus has had on sports. And by now I’m sure you have read 1,000 stories about this. But I feel like my story with this is unique and now I have to go at least a month or two without sports.
On Wednesday afternoon I was en route from Rantoul to Indianapolis to attend the Big Ten Tournament with my Dad.
When I woke up from a nap I was just arriving at my hotel that I thought I would be staying at until Sunday.
When I got on my phone, I saw the NCAA had announced that it would no longer be allowing fans into March Madness.
As soon as I saw that, my heart dropped. For the last four years I have been attending the tournament with my dad, just waiting for the moment when I get to see Illinois in it. After six long years of no one seeing them in the tournament, this was finally going to be the year. I had been waiting since Christmas to go to this Big Ten Tournament, and I was ready to go to the first game, which was Minnesota and Northwestern.
We checked in and got back in the car to head to the stadium. We were unsure what the night was going to bring, but by the time I would walk back out of the stadium, almost everything related to sports had changed. In the four hours I had been in the stadium, the Big Ten Tournament, along with almost every other conference, was no longer open to fans, Rudy Gobert was diagnosed with the virus and the NBA was suspended.
On top of that Tom Hanks and his wife were also diagnosed.
When I walked back to my car, my head was filled with so many thoughts, I didn’t know what to do. At this point you couldn’t go 15 minutes without hearing something new. Han
So the next morning I had come to terms with basketball without fans. I was upset, but I just kept thinking at least I still get to watch basketball for the next two weeks nonstop.
That would all change in a matter of hours. All of the conference tournaments were canceled and then March Madness was canceled.
All this information came pouring in less than 24 hours apart, and it was almost too much to handle.
I know a lot of people think that it is “just sports,” but for me watching sports is like 90 percent of my free time.
And let’s not forget my job is to write about sports. At this point every single sporting event in the United States is canceled. For me this would be like canceling almost every TV show.
So now what? For the next month or two I’m going to have to get really creative on what I’m going to write.
For a while I have wanted to do a section titled “Where are they know,” where I would find out where former high school stars from the area are now and what they are doing. I think now is the best time to do this. But I’m going need your help. If there is anyone that you know or are interested in reading about, please send me an email at Rbirch@rantoulpress.com to nominate them. Also, I am taking suggestions for articles or special sections and would love to hear your ideas. Even though this is going to be a long couple of months, I’m looking forward to doing things a little different and getting creative.
You can contact Ryan Birch at Rbirch@RantoulPress.com or on Twitter @RyanBirchRP