Zach Piatt sits with his head in his hands March 22, 2020, at Parkview Field in Fort Wayne, Indiana. “Anytime I walk into an empty sports venue, something feels off,” Piatt said. “It's not right. It's supposed to be buzzing.” Jacob Musselman, DN Illustration
Piatt: Sports world now has brand new meaning for 'normal'
Zach Piatt is a junior journalism major and is a columnist for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper.
During The Daily News’ editorial board meeting March 12, I got a call back from Ball State Athletic Director Beth Goetz. I excused myself from the room and asked her a few questions, just trying to figure out what in the world was happening.
What she told me left me a little flustered.
“There won’t be any competitions — not regular season, not conference, not non-conference, not offseason — no competitions for the remainder of the academic year,” she said.
I had to hold back tears as I walked back into the meeting and told everyone sports were essentially done for the year.
It’s still March, but the madness that comes with it has been, for lack of a better term, different. “Normal,” especially for us sports fans, is anything but right now.
The last professional sports game took place March 11, a hockey game between the Ottawa Senators and Los Angeles Kings. It’s been 16 days. It’s only been 16 days without sports, and I have no idea what to do with myself. Even after all the time I’ve had to take this in, I’m still confused. I’m still nowhere near 100 percent sure what to do.
What I am sure of, though, is it’s OK to feel this way right now.
Adam Schefter tweeted, according to Elias Sports, 1883 was the last time there were no professional games in the four major American sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) in the month of April.
It’s been 137 years since the last time we’ve had no sports to watch. Not a single person walking this earth was alive to experience the last time.
We weren’t prepared for this. We weren’t prepared to have our sports — our lifestyle — taken away overnight. This sucks, I know, but it’s OK. It’s OK none of us have the answer just yet, and I believe it’s OK if none of us ever do.
From what I can see, these 16 days are just the beginning, and we very well may be on our way to another sports-less April.
It’s been hard — depressing really — to look at the sports schedule each morning and see nothing day after day. Sports are my life, much more than something I enjoy writing about. Because of that, I’ve found a way to keep them in my everyday life.
March is a time every sports fan is supposed to be glued to the TV, constantly checking their phone for updates and marking up all their different NCAA Tournament brackets. I’ve been playing some NCAA Basketball 2010 on the dusty ol’ PlayStation 3 and watching endless highlights of previous tournaments to keep the March Madness feeling alive.
And don’t worry, I’ve still filled out my fair share of brackets, but they’re a little, for lack of a better term, different. I’ve got “Forrest Gump” taking down “Jurassic Park” in the final matchup of this ’90s movie bracket I found, Culver’s beating McDonald’s in the championship of the ultimate fast-food tournament and “She’s So High” topping “Take On Me” as the best one-hit wonder of all time.
My sister is amazed I can still talk about sports when none of them are going on, and I tell her it’s because I have to in order to stay sane. We all do.
Yes, there is still madness in March, but it’s certainly not the kind we were looking for. Unfortunately, for the next however long, this is the new “normal.”