Welcome to Editorial Bored, a Rock M Nation roundtable getting you through the craziness of the COVID-19 pandemic by looking ahead to the coming months.
First things first: How we doing, y’all? Feeling good? Feeling positive?
Josh Matejka, Deputy Manager: I suppose I’m as positive as one can be in these strange times. While I’m not in the high-risk zone of COVID-19, I have plenty of people in my life who are. Luckily, no one I directly know has come down with it yet, so I’ve been fortunate in that way. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that someone I know will contract COVID-19 at some point, and I’m still processing how to feel about that. But we can only take it one day at a time at this point, so that’s where my focus is.
Brandon Kiley, Lead Football Writer: I’m going to be completely honest, no, I’m not. I, like many others, didn’t take the threat of the Coronavirus seriously enough early on. I was making jokes about it, and laughing it off as if it were any other sickness that would come and go. It obviously has not gone that way. Not by a long shot.
It’s scary. It’s lonely. I feel a little helpless.
Like many of you, I have friends and family that I’m thinking about during this time. Some are older, others have underlying conditions that might interact poorly with this disease. Knowing that this is coming and we can’t do anything about it is the hardest part. I think that’s the worst part. You always want to feel like you’re doing something to help, and right now the most we can do in order to actively improve the situation is to literally stay home. That’s tough.
Nate Edwards, Football Editor: I’m good. The wife and kid are good. The extended family is good. I’m fortunate that no one has done anything drastic or stupid to expose themselves and we’re all healthy. I’m not going to sit her and say I’m feeling positive because, ya know, the human race is in the middle of the worst pandemic since the 1918 influenza outbreak but hey, of the things I can control I’m good on that front.
Karen Steger, Madame Editor: I feel fine, but as much time as I spend around people at my PT retail job — not to mention that now two people in an unknown department at the University have it— I figure it’s only a matter of time (sadly)... Family and friends are all good on my end as well and are being careful. My parents are excited that they can now shop during “senior” times, ha.
Additionally, I get to work from home for the first time in almost 6 years at my Mizzou job, so that’s pretty cool. It’s way too quiet, but at least I have my Sophie & Drew bobbleheads here with me to keep me company in these uncertain times.
OK, great! Well, we’re facing at least 5 months with no Mizzou sports and potentially no sports at all which is... yeah, pretty bleak! What do you miss most about sports right now?
Josh Matejka: October has always been my favorite sports month (hockey and basketball are picking up, baseball is in the postseason, football is up and running), but April is a close second — really the only thing that’s missing from the equation is football. Ultimately sports aren’t the end-all-be-all (unless they’re your profession. Sorry, BK!), but I’ve always found the community around sports to be the thing I appreciate most. I like texting and calling my dad about baseball; I like engaging with strangers on Twitter about Mizzou.
Sports are unique in the way they transcend barriers of all sorts, and it feels like the world is missing a bit of transcendence now that they’re gone.
Brandon Kiley: Everything. Just... Everything.
I heard Rachel Nichols say this the other day on “The Lowe Post” podcast, and I thought it was the perfect way to describe it. She compared sports to a Marvel movie. You know who the heroes and the villains are, you tend to know who you’re rooting for... But that’s where the comparison ends. In a Marvel movie, you know who is going to win. It’s going to be The Avengers.
That’s not the case with sports. Is it likely for a 16-seed to beat the top seed in the tournament? Of course not. But UMBC found a way to do it. Is it likely for the Dolphins to beat the Patriots? Of course not. But they found a way to do it in week 17. Is it likely for Bradley or Bucknell or UNI to beat kU? Nope. But... They did it!
Sports are great because they provide us with endless hours of entertainment. The competition, the pageantry, the constant evolution of storylines. It’s never-ending.
It’s a constantly evolving Avengers movie. Only this time you don’t know the ending.
So, yeah, I miss sports a lot. Plz come back soon.
Nate Edwards: I miss the distraction, most of all. I’m lucky that sports are a hobby and not a job (sorry, BK!) but that hobby was an excellent distraction from all of the responsibilities one can find oneself with. Sports are by no means capital-I-important, but they do serve a crucial escape for millions of people, myself included. I miss over-analyzing morsels of information from spring camp and being able to look forward to the dumb black and gold game.
I do not miss the white helmets.
But as a college football fan, I am supremely prepared to deal with the majority of my life having an absence of sport that I care about. Basketball is fine (yes, Sam is making me say that) and baseball is cool and good, but football is the only sport I really follow intently so it’s basically just a regular off-season for me so far. I do feel bad for all of you who enjoy the other sports I mentioned. We’ll get through this together!
Karen Steger: All of it. I have quickly come to the realization that even though I wasn’t physically watching games on tv all the time, the amount of time I spent consuming sports— reading, discussing, listening to podcasts, and scrolling through Twitter for content has left me with more free time than normal and with a void I don’t know how to fill.
Also, I’m sad that I’m a co-organizer for a Rally For Rhyan March Madness fundraiser in my office, and clearly that’s been canceled. It is a great event and so much fun. (heavy sigh)
One of the main storylines of COVID-19 and the NCAA is eligibility concerns, namely if spring (and some winter) sports athletes should get an extra year. What say you: are you for or against this idea?
Josh Matejka: I’m for, but only in specific cases — and obviously things are subject to change. I’d be more inclined to support an additional year of eligibility for all spring sports and leave it be for all others.
The real kicker comes if things are prolonged for several months. What if the college football season is truncated (or even cancelled) — do we also extend those athletes eligibility waivers as well? Like the virus itself, we just don’t know what to expect and how this will affect things in the long run. At this point, in my humble opinion, it’s too early to give a solid answer one way or the other.
Brandon Kiley: I’m always in favor of the player being able to play longer and to have more rights, so you’re going to be hard pressed to find an issue in which I wouldn’t take the players’ side on. This is no exception.
That being said, I think it would be foolish not to grant spring sport athletes another year. Winter sports are a little more tricky. The spring sports were just getting started. The winter sports more or less finished their seasons. They didn’t get to finish the postseason, but it’s hard to say they truly deserve another year of eligibility because they didn’t play in the NCAA Tournament, for example.
I would probably be in favor of allowing the seniors to come back for another year, but I understand if the NCAA decides against it for the winter sports.
Nate Edwards: I’m against it. The trickle-down effect of that decision would be costly. If you keep an entire class on board for another year, do you waive scholarship restrictions so that you can recruit freshmen, or is the 2021 class screwed? And if you waive it for 2021, then you need to waive it for 2022 as well, since not all schools will recruit 3 freshmen and that’s it. It would throw everything out of whack for all the kids coming up so there is no “fair” answer and some class of kids is going to get screwed. I feel awful for those who are affected but I’m in the camp of, “wow, I’m really sorry this happened to you, but we all need to move on,” and cap the losses for just one class of kids.
Karen Steger: For. 100 percent for spring (outdoor track hadn’t even started meets!!!!), but I would ultimately be fine with winter as well. I really feel for those in non-revenue sports— give the jumpers and gymnasts and swimmers a chance to compete at the NCAAs — it’s just different for them; you’re part of a team, but it’s also so individualized. However, I have no idea how that would work out. And I do get the whole ‘everyone has played basically a whole season’ frame of mind.
I would also be interested to see how many athletes would pursue extra eligibility if given a chance to do so. Look, I’d love to watch our big man Reed Nikko play another year, but do I see him going that route and putting off what will undoubtedly be a very successful career for him post-grad? No.
Finally, since this crisis has left us all with a little bit of extra free time: Got any good quarantine recommendations for us? Movies, TV, outdoor activities you’ve found particularly soothing?
Josh Matejka: Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows that I’m a big film head, so I’ll be taking this opportunity to watch as many movies as possible — if you have any recs, hit your boy up. I’m also lucky enough to live in the valleys of the Blue Ridge Mountains, so I’d expect I’ll be hitting up the trails and hills more often than not.
As for specific recs: The Outsider on HBO was great, and I’m very excited about The Plot Against America. I’m closely eyeing movie studios and how they’ll approach releasing their content directly onto streaming services. I’m also binging podcasts like Not Another D&D Podcast (yeah, I’m an RPG nerd, sue me), Rock M Nation Podcasts (hell yeah, PLUG) and anything The Ringer can put out.
Brandon Kiley: Oh, absolutely!
I’m a runner, so I have - and will - be spending a lot of time on the trails out here in St. Louis. So many great areas to run/walk out here; Forest Park, St. Charles near the river and Creve Coeur Lake are a few of my favorites.
I’m late to the party on the Marvel movies, but I’m completely on board. Most of them are on Disney + now, so those are a few movies that could keep you occupied.
TV shows are more my lane, though. I love a good TV series. A few I would recommend during your down time...
Comedies: The Good Place, Veep, Arrested Development
Dramas: The Americans, The Wire, Breaking Bad, The West Wing, Luther, The Shield, Dexter, Wentworth, Friday Night Lights
Superhero: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage
Food: Ugly Delicious
I would start with The Americans if you’re willing to just allow yourself to get lost in a series for the foreseeable future. If you want a break and a quick watch, The Good Place is a solid choice. And you can’t go wrong with a Friday Night Lights re-watch.
Nate Edwards: I am currently thanking the younger version of myself who spent way too much money on DVDs/Blu Rays to create a massive entertainment collection. Between that and the streaming services I feel like I can watch any movie I want. The wife and I are watching “From the Earth to the Moon”, an HBO miniseries from 1998 dramatizing the space race of the 1960s. If it was just me by myself I’d suggest watching the entire extended edition version of Lord of the Rings or restart Breaking Bad. And, of course, not only can you watch several excellent Missouri football games on YouTube (2007 kansas, 2010 Oklahoma, 2013 Georgia, etc.) but you can listen to Rock M Nation’s fine library of podcasts.
Karen Steger: Hmmm... I’m already a regular podcast listener, but I imagine I’ll just do more of that while I’m here. My rotation currently includes pretty much everything The Ringer puts out- especially past episodes of Binge Mode and The Rewatchables that I’ve missed, as well as several Crooked Media pods (Lovett or Leave it, Pod Save America mainly), and I have a backlog of Office Ladies and That’s What She Said with Sarah Spain to get through, among others. I listen to Blake Lovell’s Locked on SEC Podcast for my daily SEC scoop and I highly recommend it (sometimes he answers my questions on his pod!). And OF COURSE I’ve already listened to every single ep of our Rock M Nation pods. Have you?!?
TV-wise, I got behind on so many shows from this season alone, so I need to catch up on those, and then I’ve had some on the back-burner for years: The Blacklist, For Life, Cheer, Dear White People, Curb, Shameless, The Wire, Killing Eve, FNL, The Good Fight, etc... I also need to check out Little Fires Everywhere, High Fidelity (loved the movie) and Love is Blind, which I heard is just bananas.
Even when I have tons of shows I haven’t really started, I’ll constantly rewatch It’s Always Sunny, Veep, The Mindy Project and Arrested Development instead. Oh well.