Thank goodness for sports on television.
Our long national drought of excitement has finally ended. We’re able to cheer for overpaid hooligans again. We can finally talk about the score of last night’s game once again.
I’ve always loved sports. Competition is healthy, and there’s nothing better than watching people at the top of their game get to play the game they love.
The coronavirus pandemic put an end to any of that competition since March, though. Baseball didn’t get to transition from spring training into the regular season. We had a prolonged dead period with almost nothing competitive happening.
The world is a complicated place, especially when a pandemic is roaring through the population, and we’re in need of a distraction.
I fully accept there are more important things in the world than whether the Cubs (first place in the National League Central, I might add) won last night or not. In the grand scheme, it doesn’t really matter who wins the quarterback competition for my beloved Bears.
We’re not made in God’s image to just think about the complications of the world, either. We need recreation. We need time off from the big issues.
Without sports, we were all amateur epidemiologists. We all had our own theories on what numbers were good, what numbers were bad and what numbers were completely meaningless.
It’s sort of like discussing earned run averages and on-base percentages. Are they really that important? Maybe not in the grand scale, but it’s still interesting to pontificate on whether a pitcher might perform better in a different ballpark or with faster fielders behind him.
Contemplating the coronavirus was just too much for us all. We’re a society focused on winners and losers, and it wasn’t easy to figure out who the winners and losers were without sports. Sure, some people still cheered for their favorite team, the Elephants or the Donkeys, with some people calling out their least-favorite team, the Rhinos. (Sorry, I meant RINOs, short for Republican In Name Only if you somehow haven’t seen the reference before.)
We should all be paying close attention to how our politicians, our friends and our foes try to use the prevailing winds of life to get what they want. We should also be able to relax and enjoy an ultimately meaningless sports event now and again.
That’s why I’ll gladly watch sports now that I usually ignored in the past. I’ve watched more NBA, WNBA and NHL in the past two weeks than I probably had in the preceding two years. I spend much of that time looking things up in Google, since the names and rosters have changed so much since the last time I paid attention to these kinds of things 15 years ago, before I had a family and real people I’d see daily to care about.
That’s also been a solid plus with the return of sports. My middle daughter is a sports nut, and she loves to chat with me about the people batting fifth or sixth in the Cubs’ lineup and whether their batting averages justify it. I’ll take that over questioning what percentage of people died from a virus.
David Trinko is managing editor of The Lima News, a division of AIM Media Midwest.