Nothing like the last day of 2020 to post for the first time to this blog in over a year, and what a year it's been.
A year ago, my niece was playing in her Freshman-of-the-Year first college basketball season at Cal State LA. My brother and nephew were in town for the Rose Bowl, the Oregon Duck women's hoops team were the best around, and we were in the middle of another wait-til-next-year Dodger off-season.
|Oregon wins in a crowded stadium from before-times.
On New Year's Day we witnessed the Ducks win in Pasadena and then went home to wait for a little March Madness.
But my first COVID-related sports decision was to run the LA marathon on March 8. If it had been held a week later, it might have been cancelled. I'd been watching the news carefully and had read about patient zero in Italy who had run the marathon. Still, community spread didn't seem to be occurring in the US yet, so I ran the marathon and did my best to stay six feet away from everyone (not an easy thing to do).
The week after the marathon, I was watching/not-really-watching the Jazz-Thunder pregame when it was cancelled. I met my friend for our standing Wednesday-night writing date and measured the distance between tables in my mind. No one wore masks, but as we ate some of our favorite dishes (those green beans, that yellowtail!) and knew it might be our last night eating out for a while. We had no idea how long.
I was still teaching, trying to prepare for what seemed an inevitable cancellation of school for a while, and then March Madness was cancelled. I mourned the greatness that might have been for the Oregon women, for Sabrina, for Satou, for Ruthie.
And for four months across March, April, May, and June, we lived without sports. We would have loved watching the French Open and college basketball, but instead we watched Tiger King, the entire Star Wars series, Gentified, The Great British Bake Show, Grace and Frankie, POSE, and much more. We missed sports.
But then, slowly, sports started to figure things out. The NBA came back. The MLB came back. Tennis came back. We watched from home as cardboard fans filled stands and teams both figured it out and failed to figure it out.
Our school year started back up and we learned from professional sports that reopening with any sort of safety required much larger budgets than what our public school districts could provide. We taught and learned from home, and thankfully we had sports to provide some relief.
And then athletes across the world of sports took stands for racial justice. Four years after Kaep took a knee, athletes made demands, cancelled games, and refused to shut up and play.
|The Dodgers win!
October was long, and there was that game seven against Atlanta before the Dodgers fought their way back to the World Series. I've been a Dodger fan my entire life, but as long as I've lived in LA, I've never seen a World Championship from the Dodgers. This year, in 2020, in six games against Tampa Bay, the Dodgers finally won it all.
As college football sputtered to a start, outbreaks occurred all over the country. BCS conferences showed just how much they care about TV contracts and ticket sales and how little they care about public safety. What were they thinking?
We watched an LA season of Hard Knocks as players and teams dealt with COVID and social justice issues. Despite all that is wrong with the NFL and the performative actions they continue to take, I ended up pulling for both the Rams and the Chargers.
The Ducks victory in the Rose Bowl, feeling great running the marathon, and being up 4-3 on Gantt in our one-on-one backyard basketball series, are all worthy of note, but the Dodgers winning the World Series is the sports highlight of 2020. Hands down.
Now, go wash your hands, wear a mask, and stay home so we can get back to sports in 2021.