I thought I could handle life without live sports

The coronavirus pandemic has shone a harsh spotlight on a lot of issues in American society.

It has revealed that some folks consider great-grandmas and others in their age group expendable. So much for the wisdom of our elders. If they were so “smart,” then why did they decide to get older?

It has revealed that the personal economies of most Americans are super-fragile. For years, we’ve heard that millions of hard-working Americans can’t afford a $400 emergency. We never addressed this as a society until now, and we still haven’t done too good at it: Sorry you lost your $2,000-a-month job, but here’s $1,200 to make you feel better.

It has revealed that while we don’t think those folks making our meals and cleaning our buildings deserve $15-an-hour wages, we do think they ought to go out there and risk their lives in a pandemic because we folks working from laptops in our home offices just might need a chicken sandwich. And, those folks turning live chickens into future sandwiches had better show up to work, too!

And it certainly has revealed flaws in our ultra-capitalist health care system where everybody is fleecing somebody, and by the time the chain reaction makes its way to the end, the health consumer is fleeced the most. For instance, in March my doctor’s office finally called me to schedule me and my wife for a coronavirus test since we had both been sick. When we got to the drive-up testing tent, they decided that we didn’t look near-dead enough to test and sent us on our way. For being refused a test, we were sent a bill for more than $500. Well, they tried to fleece our useless insurance company for that, but we haven’t met the $14,000 deductible on the insurance we pay $1,100 a month for, so the $500-plus is our responsibility. (Can’t they just rename health insurance “legalized extortion?”)

I’ve come to grips with the callousness, economic problems and greed exposed by the pandemic, but I was not prepared to handle the lack of sports as I thought I could.

My favorite sport is football, and, fortunately, we were able to squeeze that in before the Trump administration managed to get the virus completely under control from 15 cases to 0 to 1.3 million. So many sports, though, are now in limbo.

At least NASCAR is coming back May 17, albeit with no fans in the stands. Is it really NASCAR if no one in the stands is yelling “Earnhardt!”? And, yes, I know that Dale Sr. died at Daytona in 2001, but I still think folks believe that if they yell loud enough that he will be coming around the corner at any moment — and I completely understand because the sport has never felt the same since.

And I’ll probably watch the May 17 race at Darlington. I’ll watch anything sports. I’d watch curling or the Tour de Steroids, er, I mean Tour de France at this point. At least I live in Georgia, where I can go down to the bowling alley and watch Jimmy Bob and Bobby Jim square off in lane 8 on Friday night.

Every now and then I’ll see some football game from 2005 on TV, but when I switch there the summary tells me about “Michigan State pulled out a thrilling come-from-behind victory …” Don’t tell me! I don’t remember 2005. Let me be surprised! At least preface that info with “SPOILER ALERT.”

The sport I really miss the most is tee-ball. My grandson played two games, and I saw only one. But we throttled the Blue Jays that day. We only had three crying kids to their five. Winning!

I’m only a spectator, though. I can’t imagine the pain of those high school seniors whose final seasons of baseball, tennis, track, soccer and golf have been lost forever. I double-faulted on the last point of my high school tennis career in the state playoffs, just short of the final four. That haunts me still today. But at least I know how the story ended. These kids will never know.

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