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Why it’s perfectly fine and important to miss sports during a pandemic

The human brain can handle both worries

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Anaheim Ducks Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Right now, everybody is sheltered from the storm. Inside their homes and restless, the majority of this country is either fighting the pandemic known as COVID-19 or trying to hide from it. The most brilliant medical minds in the world have no idea how long this will last. The spring, summer, and fall? No one knows and it’s scary. Older people are coming down with the virus and that includes younger people as well.

“Ice Guardians” producer Adam Scorgie posted on Facebook about his friend, who is very fit and in his 40’s, tested positive for the coronavirus and compared the feeling to being hit by a truck. This is putting everyone on edge and forcing them to face the battle they have long ignored: the pantry’s entire stock of processed food and their stomach, waging war on each other.

Sports would be so great right now. A hockey game to dive into. A baseball match-up to dissect and get lost in. Something to take our minds off of the real fight at hand. At their best, sports are an escapism device, something to dissuade the mind from worrying for long about the unpaid bills, uncut grass, and next month’s rent. It’s medicine. A distraction with a built-in system to ward off all problems for a few hours. Taking away sports, and all the unpredictable comforts they provide, is tough.

Over the weekend, I posted on Twitter, reminding people it’s perfectly okay and important to miss and need sports. Some didn’t agree with it, well, one person in particular that you’ll see if you click on that tweet and read the thread. Rick, an older soul, doesn’t find sports to be important right now. I disagree wholeheartedly. I’d love a game right now.

I’d love to complain about a too many men on the ice penalty or go at someone shouting that Alex Pietrangelo isn’t that good right now. I’d love to be talking about the viability of Vladimir Tarasenko’s shoulder going into the playoffs. There’s a good chance the regular season isn’t happening and the playoffs may be swept out of 2020’s spring as well.

Here’s the thing. I bet the nurse or doctor treating the massive influx of COVID-19 patients would love to lay down in the backseat of their heated car after a 12 hour shift and watch some highlights from a game they missed while saving lives. I bet a medical expert who has put his head back together after explosion twice in two days would love an overtime one-timer to revisit. It’s an escape, people.

It’s possible ... hold onto your hat as I say this, to miss sports and worry about the fate of the world at the same time. Inside the human brain, which is more powerful than you think, there’s multi-faceted abilities to worry and care about different levels of circumstances. I can worry about my eight-year-old son-who had heart and stomach procedures as a baby-coming down with the virus, and wonder if there will be baseball before August. I can think about my 65-year-old dad, who happens to be my best friend, coming down with the virus. The same goes for my superhero wife, who once upon a time took care of sick babies at Children’s Hospital. I can care for my wife, who is dealing with a serious loss in her family, and wonder if I’ll see the Tarasenko wrist shot before October. Both things are possible to think about.

I have a huge disdain for people who tell other people what they should or shouldn’t worry about. Sometimes, I am guilty of it myself on Twitter, here, or over at KSDK. At best, I try to inform you of my train of thought and let you decide for yourself from there. I fall short of that goal at times, but the intention is what matters. I won’t tell you to care more about the loss of sports than the loss of life, but it doesn’t have to be a rugged dichotomy. It really doesn’t. You can miss and worry about both.

A year ago, the Blues were cruising towards their first Stanley Cup championship, and it was exhilarating, frustrating, and nerve-racking all at once. The feeling is akin to being thrown out of an airplane with a parachute that will work eventually but not right away. I’ll never forget that feeling of watching the time tick off the clock in Boston at the Garden, the hopes and dreams of St. Louis not being drained to zero for once. It’s okay to yearn for that feeling again this spring.

I don’t know what’s going to happen. Every day, the number of cases and deaths rises, and hope seems to lessen. A medical expert speaks about it while four others answer our burning questions. The Mayor tells you to stay inside and the Governor halfheartedly follows suit. It’s a run around practice, a mean game of “duck, duck, goose” that’s being played out ever so slowly in our minds and on our televisions. We mourn the people getting it while praying it doesn’t strike our home. Our generation, and many others, haven’t experienced this form of nationwide dread in our lifetimes. There are no answers. There are no cures.

Right now, sports would be a temporary cure. Something to distract us. A Blues game where the home team wins yet 75% of Twitter complains about a player who didn’t do a good enough job. The most maddening Blues argument would be so sweet right now.

That’s all I’m saying. I miss sports. You should too. It’s perfectly okay.

Thanks for reading,