Well, ain’t that just a punch in the gut...
Apologies, readers, but I (like many of you sports fans) am really just working through some feelings right now. The teams hoping that if they made a run in their respective conference tourneys that they’d find themselves in the Big Dance with a chance to become the next Cinderella, the seniors of spring season team sports who now have no ultimate goal to work towards, the individual athletes who just qualified for their first NCAA championships (or even it was their second or third)... all over. POOF.
Look around you. At the nearest empty arena. At your home because you’re now forced to work from there for the next few weeks. At the country. At the entire world. Hell, even at the alarmingly empty shelves at your neighborhood Target store. We are for sure in the Bad Place.
The impact of sports on my life has been tremendous. From participating in sports myself (swimming -and to a lesser extent- softball), to a successful decade in high school coaching, to becoming an obsessive fan of multiple college and professional teams, to voraciously consuming all sportswriters’ and sports-related content on social media... I eat, sleep, and breathe sports. So I know if I’m upset as someone on the periphery these days, I can’t even imagine how devastating it must be to have this happen to people closely involved so suddenly. What if I had continued my swimming career, and in my final year of eligibility, when I had trained so hard to finally qualify for my very first NCAA Championships in the 200 free (my favorite event), I had it ripped away? With no chance of professional opportunities post-grad, it was just... over.
Look, I get it. I 100 percent support the decision to keep people safe and keep this contained; it is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. But man.... it’s heartbreaking to think about, right? It’s a punch in the gut. So much lost revenue for host cities of winter and spring sports tournaments, for athletic departments, lost wages for the people who work in stadiums, etc. My coworker told me that her family counts on the overtime that her husband, who works for campus police, earns from working events at Mizzou Arena and elsewhere on campus. That’s just gone now. And it just... sucks. For everyone involved. We can’t even know the lasting effects coronavirus will leave in its wake right now. It’s terrifying.
And lastly, from a sports blogger’s perspective (which I guess I should call myself), how do you write about sports when there ARE NO SPORTS? Fearless Leader Sam was asking us on the Rock M Slack channel to pitch... (horror-struck) NON-sports content. What?!? This is depressing as hell. I mean, what am I going to do with myself?
I guess I can finally take a look at my Netflix queue, or read some of the books I’ve been holding onto for years?
So, anyway, on to the links, I guess. Let’s just get this over with.
Yesterday at Rock M
- Josh previewed (gulp, you can do this, Karen)... the game that would never be.
- Sam and Josh had your updates on the coronavirus’ implications upon the SEC Tourney.
- The Athletic: Peter Baugh took your questions for a Spring Football mailbag. (probably subscriber only?)
- From head coach Eliah Drinkwitz:
- KC Star: Souichi shared a lot of news from Nashville, focusing on sadness for the student-athletes.
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Dave Matter and Stu Durando tag-teamed on a piece about March Sadness. Dave also put together a Mizzou Athletics & coronavirus fallout FAQ.
- PowerMizzou: Mitchell kept the updates coming from Nashville, discussing the cancellation of Mizzou and NCAA competitions, while Gabe earlier in the day wrote that unprecedented events means questions with no answers.
- Columbia Missourian: Briar Napier wrote about the abrupt end to Mizzou’s season.
- Hope they grabbed some souvenirs on their way out of town! Also, a great quote from Reed before the decision was handed down:
On the consolation side, maybe Reed and Dru can go home with some souvenirs. pic.twitter.com/5SZ7c88lW6— Souichi Terada (@SouichiTerada) March 12, 2020
Asked Reed Nikko about potentially playing in front of no fans (which is looking more and more likely). Had a gold quote.— Souichi Terada (@SouichiTerada) March 11, 2020
"There's people much smarter than me in charge of dealing with that. If you guys need to know anything about fish, I got you. Viruses are out of my realm."
- Thank you, Reed. So very much. :(
An incredible teammate, leader & person. We can’t wait to see all the amazing things you accomplish in life.— Mizzou Hoops (@MizzouHoops) March 12, 2020
Thank you, Big ‘Sota pic.twitter.com/dNgns6fKRc
- This heartfelt post from Kobe Brown on instagram to his road roomie Big ‘Sota, about brought me to tears.
View this post on Instagram
I hate it all ended this way for you bro, but you have been a major part in my first year of collegiate basketball. From all the road trips and being roommates this season, you’ve kept me in tune not only on the court, but off the court as well. For that I want to say thank you! Best of luck on the rest of your journey✨ #brothers ✊ #thankyou #Bigsota 〽️
- From head coach Steve Bieser, whose season may pick up again in early April:
- Columbia Missourian: Melanie Rau covered the suspension of the baseball season, while Tyler Hollins covered the impact on the softball team.
- From head softball coach Larissa Anderson:
- Swimming & Diving said good bye to its seniors and their hard-fought season that would have wrapped up at the upcoming (now canceled) NCAA Championships.
View this post on Instagram
Not quite how we ever imagined our season to end. This team did amazing things this year. Our hearts hurt for our Seniors, and the athletes across the country who were not able to end their careers at NCAA Championships, or at all. At the same time, we are so thankful and proud of all that they have accomplished for our program, and themselves during their time at Mizzou. #MIZ
- From Swimming & Diving head coach Andrew Grevers:
- The Missourian’s Chris Martucci covered the aftershocks for the swimming and track teams, who were headed to their respective NCAA Championships this weekend.
- From #14 Tiger Gymnastics head coach, Shannon Welker:
- From Women’s Golf head coach, Stephanie Priesmeyer:
- From Track & Field head coach, Brett Halter:
- Jackson Stone of the Missourian compiled the local impact of the coronavirus on our sports teams.
Assorted Sports News
These are a few of the best sports stories & tidbits I found regarding the current state of sports. They are really good. Promise.
Time to write.— Ben Frederickson (@Ben_Fred) March 12, 2020
One quick message first.
Take time to understand the facts about coronavirus.
Take time to encourage at-risk loved ones to understand it and treat it seriously.
You might not be at risk from catching it. Someone you love is.
Bigger than sports. They will return.
- Sports Illustrated: Pat Forde wrote an excellent story about the senior athletes and their uniquely brutal heartbreak. Forde offered a different perspective as that of a college swimming parent— his son Clayton is a senior at Georgia, and would be participating in his final NCAAs.
- KC Star: Vahe Gregorian wrote about how the coronavirus has shut down the sports world and the USA way of life.
- The Ringer.com (a great website): Rodger Sherman said the NCAA had no choice but cancel the NCAA Tournament.
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Hochman gave a StL sports perspective, saying it’s an unprecedented time in St. Louis sports history with so many events in flux. He also said that it’s for the best that there will be no madness in March and no shining moment.
- New York Post: Mike Vaccaro wrote about how the day coronavirus sent sports into hibernation has come, and Steve Serby said that the coronavirus has left athletes with only NCAA Tournament what ifs.
- And on one final silly note, kU writers coming with the JOKES. Thanks, guys. We needed that.
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