Below, I have shared some of the highlights of “Life Without Sports”, my journal of the 75 days I spent in social distancing without any sports to look forward to. This spanned from Friday, March 13, the first sports-less day, to Tuesday, May 26, when the NHL announced its plan for return and many people tried to return to some sense of normality after Memorial Day weekend. You can also check out my Return to Sports series, in which I discuss major sports leagues’ transition and plans for return.
Friday, March 13
Day 1 Without Sports
It was Friday the 13th, and that fact was fitting. On this day, the world was cursed by the coronavirus. Schools closed for weeks at a time. People, including my family, were afraid to leave the house out of worry of infecting others unknowingly or becoming infected. There were lots of questions, and many different answers. It was hard to know who to trust because nobody knew the real answer to the questions people had. With social distancing in full effect for my family, I passed time by instead of watching games like baseball, football, basketball, and hockey, like I usually do, taking on my family in games like Monopoly and Scrabble. Usually, I have a very busy life between school, maintaining this website, and other extracurricular activities. But I found myself searching for things to do this first day. I wasn’t enjoying the lack of sports, but I was glad people were taking this seriously, as the virus can spread really fast without our knowledge.
Tuesday, March 17
Day 5 Without Sports
I woke up, and it was all over. The Patriots dynasty was over. On this St. Patrick’s Day, Tom Brady had announced his departure from the Patriots. Sports stations continued to ramble on about where Brady would go, but later that day, it was reported that Tom Brady would become a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. Meanwhile, as Brady and other QBs signed, Bill Belichick just sat pretty. He let Brady leave, and he let go of the opportunity to sign a good replacement. I trusted in Bill Belichick for all these years, but the truth is that he has been very stubborn with players’ contracts, refusing to maintain relationships with or resign expensive players and instead trying to find hidden gems in free agency or the draft. Sometimes this works out well, but other times, it doesn’t. Brady did a good job leading the team, allowing other players and the whole team to succeed. Belichick’s coaching did help get him to where he is today, but Belichick refused to pay Brady like the superstar he is. For that reason, he left. I’ve grown up in the Brady-Belichick era, and as the two of them split, I’m still a Pats fan, but I will always be a Tom Brady fan. He had every right to leave, and I don’t think he wanted money simply to get richer. I think he wanted the money he felt he deserved as a top player in the league. He wanted to be making as much as most other starting QBs. It was good to have some sports news, but it was a sad day for Boston sports fans.
Saturday, March 28
Day 16 Without Sports
I woke up to my dad playing on a Monopoly app on my iPad. We ended up playing with my cousins, but the “house rules” we usually use in Monopoly weren’t working right the first game, and without money bonuses like Free Parking and $400 for landing on GO, everyone ran out of money fairly quickly. We found a way to add the house rules and played two more games with my other cousin Michael. Michael was my cousin from my dad’s side of the family, and back during the blizzard of ‘78, my dad played a ton of Monopoly with Michael’s mom (my dad’s sister), Stacey. They would face off the next day, bringing back memories, but after 3 games, we all wanted a break. A bad trade my brother had made in our final game had ruined my game, ruined his game and allowed my dad to win as usual.
Monday, April 6
Day 25 Without Sports
I had set up a new routine for myself, including when I would get work done, when I would work on blog articles, and more. On the first day of online school, it went well. I attended four online classes on Zoom and got the chance to catch up with some school friends. Even though I couldn’t see my friends, I didn’t mind the online school because I do most of my assignments on a computer anyways. On Day 1, I did my work fairly quickly, went on a walk since it was a 60 degree day, and relaxed.
Wednesday, April 8
Day 27 Without Sports
It was my half birthday today, a very special half birthday. I had turned 16.5. I thought maybe I’d get the chance to drive on this day (although I haven’t had the chance to start driver’s ed yet). I never would’ve thought I would spend my half birthday in quarantine, but it was worth it to avoid becoming a carrier of this deadly virus. With New York approaching its peak and Massachusetts looking like it was next, I was hopeful that a decline would come in another several weeks and we’d be able to return to normal life.
Friday, April 10
Day 29 Without Sports
It was Good Friday, so we would’ve had a day off from school normally. For Algonquin, every Friday of online school was simply a day to catch up on work. All of my work that was left to do was due Monday, not that night. So I decided to just relax and save my work for the weekend. I needed to take days off sometimes, especially since April Break was canceled.
Wednesday, April 15
Day 34 Without Sports
It was the anniversary of another crisis, the Boston Marathon bombings. It was the last time Boston went into lockdown. We were Boston Strong back then, and we need to be Boston Strong now. Andrew Cuomo has even used a similar phrase for New York, “New York Tough”, during this crisis. I got my work done a little earlier today as well, but I was distracted by Jay Glazer’s hint at big football news that night at 11. What could it be? There were rumors of Gronk’s return. There were rumors of another Odell Beckham Jr. trade. But I wouldn’t know for sure until later that night. It turned out the big news was just another coronavirus update, though Gronk would unretire later.
Thursday, April 23
Day 42 Without Sports
Sports seasons were still on pause in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, but after 6 weeks sports fans finally had a live event to watch: the 2020 NFL Draft. The draft would be conducted virtually, as one of the most important parts of the NFL’s virtual 2020 off-season that despite modifications has been 100% on schedule so far. I got my work done fairly quickly so I could watch the draft after. But I was distracted by draft rumors throughout the day. I live tweeted during round one, providing my grades for each pick. In the meantime, I created a draft group chat with two of my friends who are also huge NFL fans. The draft was fairly unsurprising on night one, but it was about to get crazy. I didn’t understand why the Patriots traded down, but looking back at the player they wanted, I’m glad they did.
Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3
Days 51 and 52 Without Sports
On Saturday, I ended up taking the day to relax with my parents and we discovered two Amazon Prime shows, Catastrophe and Red Oaks. We started Catastrophe Saturday night. Sunday, we visited my grandparents (with social distancing of course) to pick up some groceries they got us and catch up in person. We all stood in their yard, keeping our distance while we chatted with them. It was hard for my grandpa, who has hearing problems, but he was happy to see our faces. Plus, it was my brother Ryan’s first time outside in 52 days, and the perfect weather for it. Once we got home and cleaned off, we got into Red Oaks, which was even more addictive than Catastrophe and hard to stop watching. The show is about a country club and the community around it. The main characters are all college-age and work there for summer jobs.
Monday, May 18
Day 67 Without Sports
Massachusetts had begun to reopen. Essential businesses were back today, and in a week public parks and some other places would be back open. It was a nice sliver of hope during a tough time. I was hopeful Boston sports were up next, and I was hoping I’d be able to see some of my friends soon. As usual for Mondays, I took a while to get my work done. Plus, “Mock Draft Monday” had become a regular occurrence for fantasy football fans, and I joined another live mock draft today before my work was done.
Tuesday, May 19
Day 68 Without Sports
I took a while to get started off the bat today, but got my work done in time to play Monopoly with a family friend, Mark Goldfinger per the usual on Tuesdays. While I did my work, my parents returned my mom’s car (the lease had expired). We would use my dad’s until he had to go back to work. Today, for the first time in our Tuesday games, I won. I started off with just one small Monopoly, but knocked out my brother and my dad to grab hold of more Monopolies. After the game, we had tacos for dinner and continued another Amazon show we had found, Upload.
Tuesday, May 26
Day 75 Without Sports
I had a busy week of school ahead, which I wasn’t happy about. But I got my work done quickly, and when I finished, I realized that Life Without Sports was about to come to an end. No, a major sports league was not returning the next day. But the NHL had announced they’d be dropping the official schedule for their 24-team playoffs, which had been approved by league owners and the NHLPA. With this, I wouldn’t have sports back, but a return would be in sight. Plus, until hockey did actually return, I had found ways to incorporate sports into a sports-less world, and I had found other things to distract me from their absence. I had learned to live life without sports, but did I miss them? Definitely. Would life be better with sports back? No doubt about it. Did I still want to work in sports? Absolutely.