How Are We Feeling?
It's a simple question, but an important one in these weird times: How are you feeling? We're experiencing a moment, globally, that seemed like it could never happen. It certainly wasn't on my mind, and I'd feel confident saying most people weren't considering something like this either. So, that takes us back to the question. How are you feeling? Ask yourself. Ask your friends. Ask your family. As more measures force us into more isolation, physical illness isn't the only danger. Keep your mental health, and the mental health of those you care for, in mind as we go through all of this.
I bring it up because sports is a way millions of people cope with loneliness and isolation. In more normal times, even being cooped up in the house meant you could turn on ESPN and find just about any sport you wanted to watch. Especially now, in what should be the opening weekend of March Madness. About now, Louisville should have been settling in to host Bethune-Cookman at the Yum! Center, according to Charlie Creme (I'll let Paulie tell everyone how he feels about that in the comments). Assuming the Cards would have taken care of the Wildcats, they would have found themselves taking on the winner of TCU-Purdue.
Instead, our basketball options are limited. In terms of live-action sports, there is nothing but replays. There are no American sports leagues currently in operation. Even globally, soccer leagues around the world have had to give in to the realities of a pandemic. Formula 1 continues to postpone and cancel races, and the entire season looks as though it may be on ice. We moved the Derby to Labor Day weekend. It's very strange.
If you're itching for athletics of some kind, be sure to check out the replays on the various channels. Plenty of classic women's basketball games are getting run in addition to others. NFL Network has opened up their vaults for free and the NBA has done the same. If you're willing to try something a bit more out of the box, plenty of people watch e-sports.
In a weird way, this may actually create a turning point for the genre. Sure, the giant in-person tournaments are canceled for e-sports, just like for everything else (yes, they actually have those). However, the recognition that has been gained for videogames and their place in simulation sports specifically has been increasing substantially over the past week. The subreddit for college basketball decided to simulate the men's basketball tournament using NCAA 2K8. They created every team and simulate full games to be aired at the time the game should actually be played. (Louisville was upset by Vermont in the opening round. We can't even have nice things in a fantasy.) Washington's home for NHL and NBA announced that the Capitals' and Wizards' remaining games would be aired as simulations using the latest versions of their respective videogames as well. Other teams have been following suit.
Outside of simulations, sim-racing has seen a spike in popularity after the cancellation of racing events. Independent groups hustled to put together a replacement for F1's Australian GP last weekend when it was canceled. They gathered some of the best sim-racers and peppered in real F1 drivers to make it even more exciting. After the success of that event, Formula 1 announced that they would be supporting an actual event like this for each canceled or postponed race weekend. Shortly after, Indycar announced they would be doing the same thing.
Missing sports is hard. There's no denying that. There can be no true replacement for March Madness, and people have begun speculating about the potential loss of fall sports. We're going to get through this crazy time, and we'll need entertainment to do it. Don't be afraid to expand your horizons when looking for that entertainment.
And don't be afraid to answer the question I asked at the top honestly. It's more effective when you do.
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour
Will it be an hour this week? Who is to say. We'll be recording the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour (which may actually become a podcast soon) this morning at 11AM. The show will be available for live streaming on the Cardinal Couple YouTube Channel, and it can be replayed anytime after on the channel as well. The goal is to get Paulie on the line this time, so be sure to tune in to find out if we were successful. We'll bring you discussions of award announcements, the latest on what the NCAA may be thinking, and some talk about Paulie's interviews over this first week.
Until next time, Go Cards!