I was walking down the stairwell of Elkton Hall at the University of Maryland. My father and I had driven down to College Park, Maryland, from my hometown of Randolph, New Jersey, on the morning of Saturday, March 21, to officially vacate my freshman dorm room in the middle of an eventful second semester.
It was a beautiful, sunny day out. The temperature was in the mid-50s. But if you took a look around, the number of motorists on the roads was sparse. The hustling and bustling campus of the flagship university of the Old Line State was empty. All because of an invisible virus that has been causing havoc all over the globe.
I think I speak for many when I think on the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on my life. Personally, it has put an abrupt, unprecedented and unexpected end to what has been undoubtedly the best academic year of my nearly 19-year-old life. I have had to say goodbye to many people who I have met and become close with over the last year, some of whom I may never even see again.
But I did not even get to do that. Due to the uncertainty that has been caused by this truly unbelievable situation, most of us never even had the chance to actually bid each other farewell.
However, in my opinion, what is even more devastating is the bigger picture. As terrible as the situation is for my fellow expected 2023 graduates and me, I actually think that we’re getting off relatively easily. Back at my alma mater, there is a reasonable chance that Randolph High School’s Class of 2020 misses out on all of its end-of-year events and does not graduate together. The soon-to-be spring 2020 graduates who I have met at UMD are suddenly done with college life and are missing out on the better half of the semester that they have been working toward for three and a half years.
Normally, if I have to be inside of my house all day, watching sports is one of my go-to activities. But now, we cannot even resort to one of the only things that unites Americans during tough times.
The sports month of March typically involves the thrilling NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, the intensity that builds as the NBA and NHL seasons wind down, and the anticipation of baseball season with MLB spring training.
Ever since I can remember, my eyes have been glued to the Sharp television screen in my family room during March Madness. I would be watching the NBA and NHL playoff races heat up. And I would always tune into my New York Mets during spring training.
But this year, I was more excited for the NCAA Tournament than ever. I attended every Maryland Terrapins men’s basketball home game that we were on campus for, in addition to an away game. I called play-by-play of several Terps women’s basketball games for our student radio station while attending others as a fan. For the first time, I truly had horses in these races, both of which were projected to make deep runs.
This year’s NBA season has been incredibly exciting. For the first time in recent memory, the Golden State Warriors will not be running the table in the Western Conference, as their 15-50 record has them all the way down to No. 30 in the standings. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team that recently defended the Eastern Conference for four straight years, hold the worst record in the East.
So less than two years removed from Cleveland and Golden State becoming the first two teams to compete in four straight Finals, those two teams have the worst two records in the NBA.
The Milwaukee Bucks, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, have cruised to the best record in the East, followed by the defending champion Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics. The City of Angels has begun to run the West, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis leading the Los Angeles Lakers to first place, while Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have taken the new-look LA Clippers to the No. 2 spot.
The Lakers have gone from finishing with a sub-.500 record and missing the playoffs in 2019 to holding a 49-14 record, and they are not the only team that could be making a return to the postseason this year.
The Washington Wizards currently sit at 24-40 but are right in the playoff picture at No. 9 in the East. Winners of three of its last six games before the suspension of the season, Washington is a late run away from a potential playoff appearance.
If it happens. At this point, the earliest that the NBA will resume play is in mid-to-late June. This would set up a scenario where the NBA Finals would be played in August. This situation would leave many question marks. What would happen with the NBA Draft that normally takes place at the end of June? Being that NBA games begin in October, how would the whole offseason transpire in less than two months?
Most importantly, who’s to say that the virus will be extinct by then? The uncertainty continues to loom, and no one is sure when sports, school or regular day-to-day life will resume.