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You can’t even fantasize about sports these days

I miss sports. Even when you couldn’t talk politics, you could talk about whether Mitch Trubisky was absolutely terrible or just pretty bad.

Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) hands off to running back Tarik Cohen (29) during a game in 2018 in Chicago.
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky (10) hands off to running back Tarik Cohen (29) during a game in 2018 in Chicago.
AP Photo | Nam Y. Huh

I miss sports on TV. I miss game stories in my newspaper. I miss just talking about sports with friends and relatives.

Oftentimes, sports were the only safe topic of conversation.

You didn’t want to talk politics with Uncle Louie because he was going to start telling you how Trump is the greatest president in history and the Clintons are responsible for COVID-19.

Uncle Lefty, in the meantime, would fume about the lack of blood tests and the increasing odds that his old 401(k) isn’t going to be paying for his retirement.

Talking politics was never good for the family.

But you could talk about Mitch Trubisky and the only argument you would get is whether he was absolutely terrible or just pretty bad.

And no matter how bad Chicago teams were, there was always some club on the upswing.

Everyone could agree the Sox looked pretty good this year, although they hadn’t won a game.

Everyone might agree the Cubs were looking pretty bad, although they hadn’t played a game and would likely win more of them than the Sox.

It was a good bet you could speak the language of sports across generational lines.

Speaking of betting, I wonder what the addicts are doing. I’m talking about the guys who would have spent money entering 25 different NCAA Tournament pools. They’re the reason ‘‘Monday Night Football’’ was created.

I imagine these poor guys are forced to wager today on how many times President Trump is going to use the words “terrific,” incredible” and “believe me” in the same sentence.

What’s the over-under on the number of dead? I hear it was 150,000 but now is 75,000. I don’t know that for a fact, but that’s what some people are saying.

You see, a virus is way too serious for sports-like talk.

I miss sports.

I recall reading a book as a kid about an accountant bored with his life who invented an entire baseball league in his mind.

It was called “The Universal Baseball Association Inc.” The creator owns every team in the league and actually invents histories for each of its players, whose fates are determined by a roll of the dice. One such roll results in the beanball death of its youngest and brightest star.

I know that sounds strange, except I sort of did the same thing on a smaller scale as a kid.

Many years later, when I grew up, all sorts of men and women were creating fantasy baseball teams and leagues. They didn’t have the imagination to invent the players but used the actual athletes and their stats.

Back when people had jobs in offices, I knew men who spent a good part of their workday talking about their fantasy teams as if they were real.

If you had a fantasy team now, I guess Dr. Fauci would be a top pick, although he might not be able to finish the season.

I saw some TV stations were replaying old contests from the past. I caught the last few seconds of a Blackhawks overtime game that resulted in them winning the Stanley Cup. It was pretty exciting and also very sad.

The Blackhawks aren’t what they used to be. Heck, they just aren’t any more.

People keep saying things will return to normal. They’re talking about baseball games without people in the stands. That would be about as normal as the Universal Baseball Association.

Sports has always been a reflection of America: flashy, overpriced, overhyped, and completely self-indulgent. In a way, it’s still a reasonable facsimile of who we are at this moment in time.

In limbo. We want an escape, but there’s nowhere to go. I miss sports