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Sports are doomed! Sports are doomed! (Or not)

Here is something my ongoing education has taught me: In the absence of truth, speculation and presumption fill in the blanks. And it appears many of us are doing presumption and speculation now better than Olivier did "King Lear."

Example: An alarming number of national sports media types have taken speculation and presumption to dizzying levels of hysteria, shouting from on high that sports are doomed. The apocryphal horse not only obliterated the barn door, but currently gallops unfettered toward Tahiti.

OK. So we all cope with the effects of the coronavirus with varying degrees of lucidity. But after reading the fatalism last week in a number of outlets, I have an idea what would have become of Nostradamus if he suddenly began gulping Xanax.

Some examples of the delirium:

From a veteran scribe in the Boston Globe: "When we emerge from all this, what will we be? What will we feel? Will we be as invested, engrossed, devoted, fanatic? Or is this mother lode of "PPD" deprivation going to rearrange our emotions, our habits, all the connections (psychic, spiritual, financial, and otherwise) that have made some of us devoted fans for years, decades, even lifetimes?

"Our new life devoid of sports has been a beating. And beneath it all, we are slowly and undoubtedly being changed, in ways we cannot fully realize, comprehend, detect. We are being disconnected, like it or not (I suspect it's the latter), and we won't know what that truly means for quite some time."

Or from a columnist with the Associated Press: "Imagine going to an NFL game in September. Do they scan your forehead when they scan your ticket? Will you have to present evidence of a negative virus test? Do you really want to sit next to a stranger and worry for three hours about what he or she might be carrying? The logistics of simply holding a game would be staggering. And playing in one might be a risk that even NFL players won't want to take."

Holy Predetermined Fates, Batman.

I mean, thank heavens the hoarders haven't yet zeroed in on decaf. Plenty of it on the shelves. Perhaps we should partake?

It's early April. I have no idea what sports will look like in the coming months. And this just in: Neither does anyone else. But we've hit a snag here in the "good ol' U.S.of A," as Archie Bunker liked to say. We've either become fatalistic blatherers or Pollyannaish pretenders.

We can't have this. As author J.K. Rowling said, "The truth. It is a beautiful and terrible thing and must therefore be treated with great caution."

Problem: I see caution being exorcised.

Who among us truly knows what sports are going to look like? I am no more assured we won't gradually assume our old habits as I am that arenas and stadiums won't ever be full again. I don't know. Neither do you. As Dr. Fauci says, "the virus will determine the timeline."

And to speculate serves what purpose? A cheap I told you so?

I've never subscribed to the idea that overidentifying with sports is a bad thing (except in the case of some parents, which is an argument for another day). Allowing the Giants to ruin your Sunday afternoon either means you have no worries about the truly important aspects of your life or you at least took a few hours to immerse yourself in something far less dire. Either way: time well spent.

And for media types with national pulpits — but without an "MD" after their names — to predict the future when not even Dr. Fauci can is either the height of hubris or the depth of denseness. It's April. I have no idea what this virus will do by tomorrow, let alone speculate on how it might affect the NFL in September.

Meantime, instead of pining for what we've lost, maybe we could appreciate what we have. Or at the very least, simply do our part and have a little faith that "this, too, shall pass" is a reference to the rhythms of life and not Peyton Manning.

I'm betting on the former.

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro


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