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I Miss Sports.

First and foremost, thank you to the front lines during COVID-19. The doctors and nurses and service workers everywhere trying to keep us safe. We appreciate you. You deserve a party after this is done. You put yourself and your families at risk every day and sacrifice everything. THANK YOU.

We know that’s the most important thing. There are bigger things going on than a LeBron James dunk or an Alexander Ovechkin slapper from the high point on the power-play or an extra inning blast from Mookie Betts.

Unidentified bodies are being buried in New York City. People in their 30’s and 40’s are dying with sons and daughters and wives and husbands left behind. Far more important than Yankees-Red Sox or a Masters Sunday or a horse starting its quest for a Triple Crown at Churchill Downs.

Still, I miss sports. You miss sports. We all miss sports. And you know what? That’s ok.

It’s ok to miss sports because they matter. They fill our hearts with emotion and bring out the “fan” in fanatic. They bring us together. We want to predict what Tiger Woods will do as a Masters repeat champion as he approaches his mid-40’s because we love golf. And then we all want to go play golf. We want to fill out our NCAA Tournament brackets because we have done it for years. The Stanley Cup Playoffs represent grit and heart and blood and sweat and tears and it very well may be the best playoff in all of sports. Hockey fans love it and it’s a part of their lives. Sports give us something every day. They give us something to look forward to. They make us feel good or bad depending on who wins and loses, but we always buckle-up for another ride. It provides our passion. It provides us with a diversion.

And man do we need a diversion. Many are taking issue with the NFL Draft going on as planned as of this writing. Not this guy. Technology has never been better and running the Draft as scheduled checks a lot of boxes. It follows the protocol of COVID-19, maximizes our technology, gives us a diversion and allows the “business as usual” approach that this country is so good at. Maybe this will actually get people in the right frame of mind for, who knows, six days?

For the record, I am hoping for the best and expecting the worst when it comes to sports coming back in 2020. I have already said they are not returning and of course I hope I am wrong. There are just too many layers. It’s not simple and easy just dumping Major League Baseball in Arizona, creating a biodome from outer space and social distancing players in the stands before at-bats. They all touch the same ball, they stand next to each other at all bases. You need people to work at hotels and elsewhere, there is travel involved and on and on it goes. No fans at NHL or NBA arenas? There is still spit and sweat flying between competitors. Golf? Tennis? Horse racing? Same as baseball in many cases. NFL and college football? There’s equipment and protection, but still contact, and what about post-game when the players are all together in a locker room sweating and showering and closer than the six feet we are all still supposed to be keeping?

And then we have the four extra factors. 1. The possible return of the virus in the Fall. 2. Every state working at a different pace with different rules. 3. People being inconsistent in following the rules. 4. Someone, anyone, getting it once we think we have fully “flattened the curve” at a sporting event. Could you imagine pulling everything back at a game and starting over with this thing?

We have a long way to go. This has been called the invisible enemy and unprecedented and all the other things you have heard on TV or podcast shows and have read in article after article. Our peak as of this writing hasn’t even arrived. New York City is a mess. Somehow, we can still fly on an airplane. Somehow, public golf courses are closed in New York State, but people can flood into Wal-Mart and Wegman’s for mustard and potato chips and break every rule in the COVID-19 handbook.

Nothing is consistent. Nothing makes sense. Nothing seems right. Nothing seems positive. Nothing seems normal.

And nothing is more abnormal in the United States of America than not having sports. We love our teams and players and venues and match-ups.

I miss seeing a Tiger Woods putt drop from 15 feet with the crowd roaring. I miss Steph’s 3’s and Federer’s serve. I miss the #1-ranked Syracuse men’s lacrosse team and I missed my St. Bonaventure Bonnies in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. I missed all of college basketball’s tournaments and the Big Dance itself. I miss high school athletes going for state titles. I miss my New York Yankees. I miss Mike Trout’s bombs to the outfield seats. I miss Jacob deGrom’s fastball. I miss Francisco Lindor’s smile and Juan Soto’s swing. I miss baseball every single damn day.

Jun 7, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) hoists the Stanley Cup after defeating the Vegas Golden Knights in game five of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-381967 ORIG FILE ID: 20180607_jla_cs1_169.jpg

And if there’s no sports until 2021? I am going to miss my beloved Buffalo Bills who are on the rise and Derek Jeter getting inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. I am going to miss Auburn-Alabama and the first bit of the next seasons of the NBA, NHL, college football and basketball, MLB in October, Saratoga Race Course, tennis’ Grand Slams, golf’s majors and the Ryder Cup and everything in-between.

I miss sports. I will continue to miss sports. I’m in sports media. It’s my livelihood. It’s my passion. It’s my hobby. It’s what I do. It’s what I talk about. And I’m a fan too, which is where it all started, just like you. And I won’t apologize for missing sports due to COVID-19.

And neither should you.

Mike Lindsley
Follow Mike Lindsley on Twitter @MikeLSports and download his podcast the “ML Sports Platter” on Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Spotify.