Thursday, March 12, 2020

More On Covid-19

TigerBlog had a sense of what was coming before he actually heard the words spoken to him yesterday afternoon.

Even so, in the moment, it was just numbing to hear that the Ivy League presidents had decided that in the face of the uncertainties and dangers of the COVID-19 virus that all spring sports in the league would be cancelled.

An entire athletic department had the same exact feeling as well. That was impossible to miss.

You can read the release HERE.

These are times unlike any other that TigerBlog has experienced here, that's for sure. TigerBlog is, first and foremost, an historian. It dates back to his major in college, and partly from how his mind is wired.

As you know if you read this every day, he is constantly equating one current Princeton athlete with an athlete from the past, or one Princeton moment with a moment from the past. Most recently he did so with Carlie Littlefield and Sydney Johnson, but it's something he does all the time.

He also prides himself on having a great memory. This encompasses dates, scores and stats, since he has a very mathematical side to him. It also takes into account emotions as well.

When he sees a big win, or a crushing loss, it takes him back to similar moments of 20 or 30 years ago. His natural instinct is to equate things now with things from the past, perhaps as a sign of empathy or for hundreds of other possible reasons that he hasn't even considered.

Yesterday, when he searched his inner database for something to equate the numbness he was feeling, he came up empty.

He's been here for tragedies, like the aftermath of 9/11 and when his friend and colleague Lorin Maurer was killed in a plane crash, as well as the death of a student-athlete. Those was horrific occurrences.

This wasn't like that.

Those were punches in the stomach. This was just, as he said, numbness, mixed with uncertainty and, in a blink, a sorrowful feeling for the athletes who compete here and across a league that has always been so special to him.

This is nothing like anything else that has come down the pike, and it has enveloped entire countries in what seems like no time. If you don't understand what he's saying, check out what's going on in Italy right now.

Could that happen in the United States? Ask the people of New Rochelle.

Could it happen here? Nobody has any idea.

This is a virus with no vaccine, and it's a virus that for now is only stoppable by what they're calling "social distancing."

It's a grim reality right now.

How bad will it get? How sick will the average young, healthy person get if they catch the virus? What are the actual statistics? Which expert should you believe?

TB has no answers to any of that. He's just glad he didn't have to be the one making the decisions.

That's the big-picture look. The micro view is of the athletes who were just starting out their seasons who now will be unable to compete with their teammates and friends, of the students - athletes and non-athletes - whose college experience has been so unexpectedly and so unfortunately altered.

If you think you have a sense of just how much athletes invest in their sports here while also balancing their academic rigors, you're probably off by a factor of 10 or so. They do this in ways that have marveled TB for more than 30 years now, and the result of this combination has resulted in some of the most accomplished people TB has ever met.

Also, the athletic competition and athletic identity is hugely important to all of them, whether they are the best player on the team or one of the ones who almost never sees the field. They are passionate about what they do, and today they are simply crushed. So are the people who coach them. 

The people who did have to make these decisions know this full well. They ache for having to have made it. That was crystal clear to TB yesterday as well.

There were questions yesterday all over the place.

Will the spring athletes get an extra year of eligibility? If so what will that mean due to Ivy League rules? Will other leagues follow? Will any students be on Princeton's campus the rest of the year or will the semester have to be done online from now on?

These are all great questions that again TB doesn't have an answer for.

He does know that every Ivy League spring athlete was feeling emotions yesterday that he would never wish on any of them, nor would anyone else who works in the Ivy League.

In TB's world, the most obvious thing to point out was that there are three Ivy League men's lacrosse teams ranked in the top five nationally right now, including Princeton, who is 5-0 and who was as good a story as there was in men's lacrosse so far.

Next up was going to be the first weekend of Ivy League games, with Princeton to host Penn.

When Saturday at 1 rolls around, TB can't imagine what he'll be feeling.

Actually, he'll have no idea.

This is all new to him, and he hated having to hear it.

No comments: