Patrons enter the grounds and walk toward the first tee crossing in front of the Masters scoreboard before the start of the 2019 tournament Thursday, April 11, 2019, at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta.
Photo: Jason Getz/For the AJC
Photo: Jason Getz/For the AJC

Give me a little time here to mourn this lost spring of sports

Times like these, the rational and well-grounded among us realize that some compromises in the games we play are trivial. In the big scrapbook of life, a postponed golf tournament or a junked basketball festival barely qualify as indulgent selfies.

This I know to my core is how any sober person should accept the loss of sports in the time of the coronavirus.    

And yet, here I sit bitterly disappointed.

Like I want to throw something hard and sharp at the unseen injustice of it all. 

What a kick in the castanets this last week has been.

We all know, at least those who are tethered to some kind of larger reality, that the halting of all sizable public gatherings was the prudent thing to do. This was no time for half measures or empty gestures.

And, yes, certainly, we realize the potential for losses far more grievous than the Masters or the start of Major League Baseball. The greater health and economic issues are unsettling and profound.     

Still, even at the risk of looking less than enlightened, I’m going to take just this moment to mourn the effects of this cursed virus on sports and sports fans. Because if you have a deep and abiding love for something and it is taken away, it hurts. Because if the games you watch are meaningful notes in the rhythm of your life, to have that disrupted is depressing. It’s like the sports version of seasonal affective disorder — yes, SAD — where the lack of daylight greatly darkens one’s mood.

Yes, sports do matter just a little bit, too.

Here we should be preparing for what is one of the sweetest slices of the sporting calendar. The confluence of March Madness, the coming Masters, the start of another baseball season when hope abounds throughout the standings just may be the best time of all. These are the trailers of spring, and the anticipation always runs high.    

Instead of indulging in these delights, we are working on new and awkward ways of greeting one another, going to the mattresses for hand sanitizer, riding the stock market tilt-a-whirl and watching sports highlight shows that have everything except the highlights.

And what becomes now of Jim Nantz? This is his time of year, and now he has neither game nor round to narrate. What is left for him to wax poetic over? A grocery list? A take-out order? All that saccharine has to go somewhere, or the poor man will just explode. 

The storyline of the most unpredictable college basketball season has just stopped in mid-sentence. Who writes a mystery without a solution? 

At least this year my empty bracket will be perfect.

By the way, happy freakin’ Selection Sunday.

Not that it’s a big deal in many parts of Georgia, as neither Bulldog nor Yellow Jacket traditionally have much of a stake in the NCAA Tournament process. Around these parts, it’s a distant spectacle, like the running of the bulls in Spain or the Kentucky Derby post-position draw. Still, it was all supposed to taper down to Atlanta this year, so there’s another low blow.

And really would have liked to have seen how it played out this spring for Georgia baseball and Georgia Tech golf — both teams ranked third in the country when the plug was pulled.     

Not having a Masters in April, personally, that’s the deepest cut of all. I’m frequently asked which event I most enjoy covering. And the answer is always the same: The Masters. 

The Masters never baits and switches, it never fails to deliver. The Masters is one event for which I might hit the pause button on my cynicism (not always, but mostly). The Masters is a rite here in Georgia, now denied. 

Even if Tiger Woods’ back would not have allowed him to play, or play effectively, in defense of his Masters this spring, another green and glorious spectacle would have taken his place. 

Maybe they will figure a way to squeeze in this tournament later this year. Not counting on it, though.    

I’ll do the right thing and fully and maturely prioritize the temporary loss of sports in the bigger picture here.  

Just let me sulk for a moment.

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About the Author

Steve Hummer
Steve Hummer
Steve Hummer writes sports features for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He covers a wide range of sports and topics.
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