Sports staff life without sports art

Last week, the Big Ten canceled all sports for the remainder of the semester due to the health threats posed by coronavirus, and nearly every professional sports league has done the same. Without Nebraska (or any) sports going on, that’s left The Daily Nebraskan’s sports staff with a lot less to do than usual. 

However, in that time, we’ve been attempting to find ways to fill that massive void in our lives. 

Jacob Bova, senior sports editor

It’s been only a week without sports and I’m already going crazy. I don’t want to think about what I will be doing a month from now if there are still no sports being played. Just last night before bed I made the mistake of listening to the CBS March Madness theme song and may have shed a tear or 10.

As for what else I’ve done, I think the best way to deal with the loss of most sports is to take my mind completely off it. While I may have slipped up last night, I’ve tried to isolate myself from cancelled sports (basketball, baseball, soccer, etc.) as much as I can. I have paid attention to football offseason news because as of now, nothing there has been canceled. For some reason, in my head, if I just pretend that basketball, soccer and baseball aren’t actual sports it helps me cope. 

A few of the activities I’ve used to take my mind off canceled sports are watching all the Marvel movies in order, cleaning out my bedroom at my parents’ house, learning how to cook (Before this week, the last time I cooked for myself was probably last summer) and video games, lots of video games (but no sports video games).

Can I keep this streak up, probably not. I have no doubt that within a week’s time I’ll be watching “Best Moments of March Madness” videos on YouTube at 2 a.m. bawling my eyes out after one too many glasses of wine. But for now, it’s working and I’m going to stick with it as long as I can.

Drake Keeler, assistant sports editor

It’s now been around a week since sports came to a screeching halt. While that decision is for the best, it has left me with little to do. Trust me, I have no problem not going outside in any situation, but now I am unable to be accompanied by the major sports. 

With the NBA being postponed, I needed some type of basketball to participate in. So, I started an expansion franchise, the St. Louis Sound, in NBA2k20’s MyLeague mode. My team isn’t great yet talent-wise, but it’s fun. We started 3-1, and Serge Ibaka hit a game-winning three at the buzzer to win one of the games. Then, I played the Clippers two games in a row and Kawhi Leonard averaged about 40 points in those two games (I lost both). I haven’t played since. 

Thankfully, I’ve been able to find peace in another sport: marble racing. A few days ago, a marble racing video from a few years ago went viral on Twitter. However, I’ve been following the guy who does the races, Jelle’s Marble Runs, for about three weeks and I can say that marble racing is electric. If you aren’t watching Marbula One, you’re missing out. I decided to become a Balls of Chaos fan because I enjoy chaos, but it has been disappointing. We won one race, but nearly every other performance has been a struggle.

It’s nice to know that even when live sports aren’t being played, “sports” will still cause me pain.

Luke Mullin, assistant sports editor

Like many others, I’ve spent much of my new-found free time playing video games, whether that’s Madden, the new Call of Duty game or the capture the flag game TagPro. I hit a personal milestone in the gym, watched Lord of the Rings and made some good soup as well. It’s been tough without sports, but I suppose life goes on. I’m looking for the silver lining that the past few days have let me explore other interests, but it’s still sad to be without sports. May they soon return in their full glory.

Matt Hardesty, staff writer

Being in Indianapolis for the Big Ten Tournament made last week seem even more surreal. It was complete chaos as Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg left Wednesday’s game early and it became clear that this basketball season was coming to a fast end. What was even stranger was the fact that I was at a basketball game with a decent-sized crowd that didn’t care about what was happening outside as leagues were getting suspended and the president was addressing the nation. The drive back to Lincoln on Thursday was tough, since we were stuck in a car for 10 hours with nothing to do but continuously scroll through Twitter. 

Since then, it’s been easier than I thought to come to grips with everything. I don’t care for any simulated brackets, and I would much rather have no champion for this season than declare one based on polls. Over the course of my time covering football and basketball, it has become incredibly clear that so many voters of both the coaches and AP polls for sports don’t actually pay attention to many teams outside of their bubble. Thank goodness national champions aren’t decided that way anymore. 

I miss sports, but not as much as I thought I would. I rarely turn on ESPN anymore, and have focused my attention on finishing up my final semester, catching up on work with my internship and doing what I can to help The Daily Nebraskan finish this semester strong. It’s unfortunate that I didn’t get to end my time here like I had planned, covering the NCAA Tournament in Omaha this weekend, followed by the spring game next month and graduation in May. But all of those things are privileges. Just think: 10 years ago, only one channel broadcast the NCAA Tournament and you had to just hope that at least part of your favorite team’s game would be shown on CBS. We are lucky to be able to watch nearly every game played now. Sports will come back, and they will be more appreciated than ever before. In the meantime, I suggest doing some self-reflection and finding new passions and projects to better yourself with all of this free time.

Austin Oerman, host of Scarlet Fever

Quarantine suuuuuuuuuuuucks.

I’m just tired of it.

I miss sports.

Ugh.

Christian Horn, staff writer

The day the NBA announced it was suspending play, which helped kickstart a domino effect that essentially ground the sports world to a standstill, I didn’t even know until a few hours after it had happened. I had to work that night, so I didn’t see the notification until nearly 11 p.m.

As more leagues followed suit and sporting events began dropping like flies, I found myself doing nothing but sitting there and refreshing social media in bewilderment as cancellations and suspensions poured in. 

Nearly a week later and it’s still weird not having any sports to watch. Today would have been the first day of the NCAA Tournament’s round of 64 and I would have been glued to my television all day, but you find ways to overcome the situation and still get your fix in. Last week, my friends and I held our own 1-on-1 basketball tournament to make a “One Shining Moment” video like the one that plays at the end of the NCAA Tournament each year. Spoilers: I scored a combined four points in two games to lock up that last-place finish (There’s a reason I write and watch sports rather than play them). Video games help too, particularly NCAA Football 14.

Martin Herz, staff writer

I can’t believe it has only been a week since we had sports. The way this last week has gone by, it has felt like a lifetime as each day brought new and terrible surprises. The beginning of NFL free agency even felt weird as Tom Brady leaving New England for Tampa Bay barely made any noise. 

I guess that’s what happens when we’re in the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Still, I miss sports so much. The first weekend of March Madness is always magical and bragging about the upsets I picked are always magical. Those upsets are always overshadowed by how bad my bracket was, but with no tournament, there is no bracket and no getting mad at your champion losing the first day.

I miss that feeling of getting all the emotions in a possible range within a span of 10 minutes. Now, it’s off to watching old highlights and hopefully us weathering this bleak storm.

Landon Wirt, staff writer

There’s only so many replays of old college basketball games a guy can watch. Today was supposed to be the first day of March Madness, the crowned jewel of the best sports month of the year. The NCAA Tournament is beginning, the NBA is entering the playoff push, European soccer and the UEFA Champions League are entering the home stretch and the MLB is about to begin. Nothing can compare to March.

Watching the news daily is breaking my spirit. Each passing update on the coronavirus just means we’ll have to go longer and longer without sports. Like Matt Hardesty, I too was in Indianapolis covering what is now one of the last sporting events in the United States held without fans. Amid all the panic regarding Nebraska head coach Fred Hoiberg’s health, I sat down and wrote.

I had no idea how bad things would actually become, but my worst fears I expressed in that column were realized. In the span of 48 hours we went from laughing at the Ivy League for cancelling its postseason tournament to not having any sporting events in the country. It’s surreal, and this week has been one of the longest of my life. 

Thankfully, NFL free agency and leading the UTEP Miners to glory in my NCAA Football 14 dynasty is helping me fill that void. And I hate to brag Drake, but I’ve been watching Jelle’s Marble Runs since the 2019 MarbleLympics. The content that his channel puts out is fantastic and a great way to get that live action kick. 

Another under-the-radar YouTube channel I’ll suggest is Major League Wiffle Ball. MLW, as the league is more commonly known, is a group of kids in their late teens/early 20s that play in an eight-team wiffle ball league in Michigan. The league has a solid following on YouTube and Instagram, and the games are always really entertaining to watch. MLW teams play a three-game series and the games are uploaded to YouTube a week or two later. Their videos are really professional, the league is organized and they already posted that they “would be suspending… absolutely nothing.” This season’s schedule hasn’t been released, but I imagine that they’ll start play in the next few weeks.

Sometimes you truly don’t know what you have until it’s gone, or at least taken away from you for a while. I should be watching the NCAA Tournament right now. Instead, I’m watching Patrick Mahomes highlights for the 10th time in the last week. Help.

sports@dailynebraskan.com