Geyer: The sports-less sports fan
Ellen Geyer | Friday, March 27, 2020
When I first got word about Notre Dame’s extended spring break, back when there was still hope of returning to campus in April, amid my disappointment, sadness and mourning of a lost Bookstore Basketball season, I found a pretty excellent silver lining. For a whole two weeks without homework, I could do nothing but watch sports. After years of stolen glances of March Madness during class, sly searches of box scores and stat lines mid-lecture and breathless sprints back to my room in the evenings to catch the tail-end of afternoon games, I was finally free to be completely inundated by hours upon hours of upsets, beatdowns, Cinderella stories and implausible runs. What more could I have possibly asked for? Oh, cruel naivete!
I relished the idea of staying up late to watch West Coast NBA games, waking up early to watch Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman’s daily screaming match and spending entire afternoons watching Champions League soccer games. How cruelly I fell from my ivory tower.
Ruminating on my own sorrow, I began to consider that perhaps this disappointing development ushered in a new opportunity. If the NBA playoffs didn’t happen, the Cavs couldn’t fail to clinch a spot in them for yet another year. If the Premier League was canceled, Liverpool couldn’t continue its indiscriminate beatdown of Manchester City. If the Stanley Cup race came screeching to a halt, the Blue Jackets wouldn’t have the chance to embark upon their annual, mid-season self-destruction. Turns out that in a world without sports, I’m the happiest sports fan in the world.
Think about it. If, in July 2018, the NBA came grinding to a halt, LeBron James couldn’t have broken my heart, yet again, in leaving Cleveland for Los Angeles. If that doesn’t happen, the Cavs have huge bargaining power in the most absurd free agent summer in league history, 2019. Finding a way to unload J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson and a few other useless burdens on their cap space, we’ve got KD or the Klaw or Kyrie wearing wine and gold once again. Is two titles in three years after a 52-year drought too much to ask for (And yes, I’m aware all of these signings are extremely implausible, but it is a pandemic after all, and I think that entitles me to a little freedom of imagination)?
Without the 2019 NFL season, Feb. 2 could have been the happiest day of my life with the Browns picking up their first Super Bowl title in over 50 years. The progression of their season this year has certainly not made my wallet any thicker, with all my of my eight- and 10-win season wagers backfiring miserably in my face. Thanks a lot for getting my hopes up, Jarvis and OBJ. But if we cancel football? Those guys don’t even have the chance to hurt my feelings in the first place.
And then of course, we rewind the tape to the 2018 Cotton Bowl Classic. I’m going to let you insert your own personal fantasy here. It’s only fair.
So don’t you see? Perhaps the cancelation of sports isn’t really as bad as we thought it was. After all, it makes being an Ohio sports fan seem like a pretty sweet deal. And that, reader, is nothing short of a miracle.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.