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Making sense of this unprecedented sports void

Maybe there’s a silver lining in this after all...?

MLB: Spring Training-Milwaukee Brewers at Arizona Diamondbacks The Arizona Republic-USA TODAY NETWORK via Imagn Content Services, LLC

*Disclaimer: I fully understand the severity of COVID-19 and don’t intend to make light of the situation*

Obviously, at this point, everyone is aware of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the world and affecting everything we hold dear. And it has finally hit us all where it hurts: baseball (and sports in general). With every major sports league now suspended, we’re staring at an unprecedented void in our sporting lives.

If you’re anything like me, you likely had a strange moment on Thursday night where you didn’t know what to do with your free time. For me, this entailed me turning on the TV only to remember there wasn’t a single sporting event to watch. I proceeded to turn off the TV and sit on the couch staring at a blank screen for about 10 minutes while I digested all of this. For the first time in a lifetime, there wasn’t even a random game to turn on in the background. There wasn’t even the option of watching two teams for which I have no rooting interest.

There seems to be a sort of eerie, empty feeling all around due to this lack of sports. Social media was, understandably, blowing up about everything being canceled. Nobody seemed to know what to do with themselves or what to talk about. With no sports for the foreseeable future, we will have to find new ways to spend our free time. This is a far more extreme version of the dreaded “Show Hole” term Netflix so smartly coined a few years back. We’re all lost and in the dark, but at least we’re all in it together.

And, in a sense, that’s the beauty of sports. Whether we’re arguing with each other over teams or players or calls, sports bring us all together in a way not many things can. It is that unifying force that John from Albert Lea and Joe from Pelican Rapids can immediately bond over. “How ‘bout them Twinkies?” is the sort of statement that could launch an hours-long conversation among strangers.

We’re seeing now, more than ever, just how important sports are to us as a society. Just watching a Twins game for a few hours can help you forget about all the stress from a bad day at work. It can be an escape from the real world for a bit in a way other outlets can’t quite offer.

But if there is a silver lining to this whole situation, maybe it’s this: our favorite athletes now have an opportunity to spend more time with family and loved ones. I feel like we often forget about the fact that these players are human, too. A 162-game regular season is a grind even for the fittest athletes.

Hopefully these guys can take advantage of this extra off time to relax and catch their breath again. And as consumers and fans, maybe we should do the same. Take a step back and look at everything else around us we have to be grateful for.

Yes, we’re so lucky to be living in such a golden age for sports and sports television. But we’re also lucky to have so many other things to live for. We get so wrapped up in our favorite sports teams that we sometimes forget to just enjoy life.

So let’s all make the most of this dire situation and spend that time, normally reserved for watching the Twins, with our families or dogs or whoever you hold dear.

Our Twinkies will be back to business soon enough and all will be right with the world again. But until then, hopefully they can all get healthy (i.e. Rich Hill, Byron Buxton, etc.) and enjoy some extra, unexpected down time.