Um, sports fans? What the heck are we supposed to do with ourselves now?
The coronavirus outbreak has rendered the sports world a ghost town. So what do we do? Talk sports, of course. And laugh.
How about those ’85 Bears!
Sweetness and Da Coach. Danimal and Mongo. The Super Bowl Shuffle. Buddy Ryan’s 46 Defense. Oh, man, those were good times.
I used to make fun of our attachment to that team, used to see the decades-long fascination with it as an indictment of a franchise that had forgotten how to win, but I see now that I had it all wrong. Never leave us, Fridge! If my instinct is correct, there’s a 20-part newspaper series on the 1985 Bears in our very near future. I wouldn’t rule out a “4 Takeaways from Jim McMahon’s Putting Lesson’’ feature, either.
The coronavirus outbreak has rendered the sports world a ghost town. The wind whistles, shutters rattle against windows and … nothing. Everything has been shut down. “Legends Are Made in March,’’ an ESPN ad trumpeted Friday. Wrong tense. Were. Were made. There will be no NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments this year. Shocking but necessary.
The NBA and NHL have suspended their seasons. The Masters has been postponed. So has the Boston Marathon. The Illinois High School Association boys basketball tournament will not be played for the first time in its history. Major League Baseball has shut down spring training and delayed Opening Day by at least two weeks. Major League Soccer has suspended its season for 30 days.
How are we supposed to fill this massive void? Reruns of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series? It would put to the test the idea that seeing the Cubs’ Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo embrace after the last out never gets old.
Should we just admit life is over and do ourselves in by watching an Adam Sandler moviethon?
Sports bind us. That’s a cliché, which means there’s a lot of truth to it. The games we watch allow us to forget, at least for a moment, the trials of real life. We celebrate excellence, and we wonder with all the frustration we can muster who in his right mind hired that stupid coach. We do this together, away from all the things that too often keep us apart.
But now a virus has cut our bond, and life’s trials have suddenly gotten a little harder. There’s no escaping the coronavirus existentially. You turn on ESPN, and it’s all they’re they’re discussing. You go to the health club and all you’re thinking about is disinfectant wipes. You run into a guy you talk sports with, and he tells you about the store he works at. About the same people showing up day after day to buy as much toilet paper as they can. Selfish jerks. The steady thrum of concern you feel now makes room for anger.
So what do you do?
You thank Bears general manager Ryan Pace for Mitch Trubisky.
By that I mean two things:
— You laugh.
— You remember that, no matter how dark our darkened TV sets get, it’s not the end of sports discussion.
We’re all in this together. There’s nothing to do but wash our hands and continue to ask what Pace had been drinking that night in 2017 when he decided to trade up a spot to take Trubisky with the second overall pick in the draft.
I shudder when I think of where we’d be right now without the quarterback. We’d be here: It’s 9:45 at The Score, and we want to know how the Bears’ salary cap has changed your life. The phone lines are wide open!
It never occurred to me to give up sports for Lent. But here I am, fasting in the desert. I’ve often wondered what cutting the sports cord would be like. It was always a passing thought, like asking what it would be like to not have the sense of smell. We’re all about to find out if it stinks or not.
It’ll be more than a hole in my life. It will be a challenge. What am I supposed to write about? Sports networks can fill their programming with classic games. Would you like to re-read my column from the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup-clinching victory in 2010? I didn’t think so.
If you have any column ideas, Trubisky themed or not, I’m open to your suggestions. I’d pay for them, but my 401k is whimpering in the corner. Just know that by coming up with topics, you will be helping out a brother in need.
In the meantime, it looks like the end of the line for linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski with the Bears. They’ve agreed to a three-year contract with fellow LB Danny Trevathan, meaning there probably won’t be money for Kwiatkoski, who had a breakout season in 2019.
Our 30-part tribute to him, starting with Part I: “It’s a Boy!’’ begins soon.