One year ago, we all had just watched the final episode of “The Last Dance,” a self-authored series by Michael Jordan on Michael Jordan to show how great Michael Jordan was and that there will be no other like Michael Jordan.
It aired May 17, 2020.
None of us cared about the “I love me some me” treatment Jordan gave himself. It was sports. We had something to tweet about besides a strange disease we didn’t understand and feared. It almost felt like, well, fun.
Everything else was cancelled and none of us knew when we’d see live games. Even when we did, it wasn’t the same...it was more of a series of sterile exercises in front of empty arenas and stadiums. As sports fans, we were used to steak, but these games, played at odd times of the year that did not coincide with their normal places on the calendar, were more like rice cakes.
We were one miserable lot.
Looking back at the baggage created over the past year serves no useful purpose, but I can’t help but be struck by the contrasts this week. If you went on Twitter, the conversations were about whether there would even be a football season. I found myself stopping my daily walks because of apprehension over the dangers of even being outside. I went to grocery stores at 6 AM to avoid people, and wore not only a mask, but gloves.
Joy wasn’t seeing your team win. It was finding a package of Clorox Wipes still on the shelf at the store.
This week, Twitter is full of college football stories signaling not only games will be played, but will be played before full stadiums. Fans are back. There is something to look forward to, events to add to your calendars, and a feeling this will not end up being Lucy pulling the football away at the last second, like the Big Ten and several “woke” national sportswriters attempted to do last year.
I’ve been out for two long walks in the last two days, trading good mornings with everyone I’ve seen instead of crossing the street and cowering away. Parents have signs in their front yards celebrating their children's graduation from high school and college, graduations they all got to physically attend.
The Nationals are back to frustrating me in front of filled stadiums. The Capitals play tonight and will probably do the same. The Wizards…well, they’re the Wizards.
All I know I’m sitting here, resting from a long walk, a cup of coffee in front of me, reading up on all the live sports going on - not only now, but the rest of the year - while a large dog sleeps soundly on my lap, looking back occasionally to see if I have any treats.
I don’t know what’s coming down the pipe later this year – and there’s always something coming later down the pipe – but at least at this point and time on a Wednesday morning, I feel like I have my life back after 14 months of house arrest.
Feels pretty daggone good, too.