By: Nick Galle
In the wake of a pandemic, the sports world has gone completely dark.
While it might be a necessary measure, there is no doubt that it has changed the lives of millions in both the United States and abroad.
It is often said that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone, and the old saying reigns true – especially when it comes to the nationwide cancellation of major sporting events.
In this time of stress, sickness, and everything in between, something might have dawned on you:
Sports are more than just sports.
Just over a month ago, the world lost Kobe Bryant. Think back to how you felt after hearing that news. It felt like something was missing. There was a void. Things just felt different.
But the NBA didn’t stop. Basketball continued. Sports were there. The wound was mended. Everybody was hurt, but at least there was some remedy, some healing, some peace of mind. People came together. The NBA community came together. You were hurt, sad, and broken, but you were not alone. Basketball had your back.
Fifteen years ago, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. With over 1,200 deaths and $125 billion in damage, the city was at its lowest of lows.
The Superdome was turned into a makeshift relief center as 80% of New Orleans sat underwater. Many lost everything they had, stripping them of all hope.
Five years later, the Saints found themselves hoisting a Lombardi Trophy. Their first one in franchise history. A trophy that represented the resilience of not only the team, but the city as a whole.
After Katrina, the morale of the people of Louisiana had been extremely low. After all, they had just experienced one of the worst hurricanes to date; a national tragedy.
But the Saints came marching in.
2013. Two bombs detonate at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Three are killed and over 250 are injured. A city of nearly 700,000 people goes on lockdown in the following days.
Five days later, the Boston Red Sox return home to Fenway Park where they win 4-3 over the Kansas City Royals. While the win was important for the city as a whole, what was said before the game was what stuck with people for the rest of their lives.
Boston would go on to carry the “Boston Strong” mentality, a term originally coined by third baseman Will Middlebrooks, as they would go on to win the 2013 World Series.
Even an act of terrorism could not take sports away from us. Rather, sports took us away from terrorism. It took us away from the hatred, the violence, and the senselessness.
And it was not the first time that sports brought the nation together after an act of terrorism.
So what has been different with the coronavirus? Sports are gone. There is nothing to get us through these turbulent times.
Sports were there in the times of natural disaster. They were there in the times of terrorism. They were there after the death of a national figure. And they were there when you got home from a long day of work and just needed to sit on the couch and ease your mind for a couple hours.
What a lot of us have not realized until this very moment is what sports truly are. They aren’t just players shooting a basketball, swinging a bat, skating on the ice, or catching a pass from a quarterback.
They are a release from the daily struggles we all face. For some of us, those struggles might be bigger than others, but let it be known that we all have them.
They are community cornerstones that allow people to come together as one. Some fellow fans become family, and family are often fellow fans.
Lastly, sports have become a part of us.
There have been countless magical moments in sports, and the world could use one of those right about now.
We miss you sports. Until we meet again.
Come back soon.
Cover photo via: William Perlman/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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Follow Nick Galle on Twitter: @thenickgalle