The thrill has been gone.
That’s been the tedious routine sports fans have been suffering through ever since COVID-19 virtually shut down all sports on March 12.
For about two and half months we have been helplessly, hopelessly bored.
Legendary blues singer and guitarist B.B. King himself couldn’t have summed it up better with his famous song — “The Thrill Is Gone.”
That’s because we are so accustomed to having sports provide our thrills with stunning feats of athleticism, make our hearts pound with the thrill of spectacular plays and, yes, even to produce a “thrill is gone” moment if our favorite team doesn’t prevail.
In so many ways, sports are our “thrill factor.”
They quicken our pulses just like the famous old “Wide, World of Sports” intro by Jim McKay that included the trademark phrase of “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”
That’s because we have become a sports-driven society. It’s easy to understand. We work our jobs, we collect our retirement checks and we watch our sports.
As we have learned so very painfully in the last 78 days, our lives have become much too mundane and far too routine without sports to color our world.
Why, for the first six days of the coronavirus pandemic my thrill was so gone I didn’t even shave. And my dad did me one better. He grew a full beard for the first time in his life.
Talk about the thrill being gone.
Now, for the good news.
It’s time to begin feeling the thrill again. That’s because sports across the board are edging closer and closer to returning.
Why, some sports already have returned. NASCAR is racing and it has been a pleasure to watch despite the empty grandstands. The same goes for PGA play. Who didn’t enjoy seeing Tom Brady split the seat of his pants while playing golf with Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Peyton Manning?
That’s what sports do.
They put smiles on our faces.
n The NHL is finalizing a playoff format to provide a fitting finale to its 2019-20 season.
n The NBA Board of Governors approved a return-to-play proposal by a vote of 29-1 on Thursday. The NBA is scheduled to return on July 31 at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. A total of 22 teams will participate in eight regular-season games and, then, a full playoff.
n The NFL is allowing teams to hold their training camps in their practice facilities. Also, coaching staffs were permitted to return to team facilities on Friday and the maximum total of personnel allowed to participate was increased to 100.
n Marshall University’s football players are taking part in voluntary workouts and West Virginia University’s players will follow suit next week.
n Major League Baseball is doing what it does best — argue. Whether it’s the owners versus the players association or a manager in the face of an umpire, baseball is all about arguments.
The most recent is the players wanting to play 114 games with the owners countering at 50. The players want to make more money with their pro-rated contracts, while the owners want to make sure the playoffs and World Series come to fruition so they can reap their bonanza of television revenue.
My guess is they’ll agree on 80 or so games as the middle ground. And finally we’ll hear the sweet sounds of “Play ball!” somewhere during the first two weeks of July.
Why, we might even have some Little League baseball games before long.
Wouldn’t that be sweet?
It’s almost here, folks.
The time for us to allow the thrill of sports to course like adrenaline through our veins is drawing nigh.
The thrill is coming back, B.B.