Some people do not deal well with stress. Given recent events, that seems to be the mantra of 2020.
Covid-19 changed our lives in ways we never anticipated. Some gravitate toward the worst possible news of the Covid spread, and others embrace great news, whether it exists or not.
Because of the effect of Covid, financial concerns caused us moments of terror that Americans and their children might go hungry and become homeless. Those fears turned more of us jittery.
The senseless and brutal murder of George Floyd unleashed anger and disappointment in both whites and blacks, tired of tolerating the stupidity of racism. That added a another massive stressor to our pile of growing concerns. Protests became riots which morphed into takeovers.
Leaders continue to use to lever our fear by dividing us against each other, and the misery index skyrockets yet higher.
During normal times, we have distractions to keep our minds occupied, even as our confidence wanes that the world around us is a kind, decent, and fair place. Sports, concerts, theatre, movies, vacations, and dinners with loved ones have always allowed us to forget the fear and keep our anger outside of easy reach. Until now.
With all of those diversions removed from our lives, we have little to think about but Covid, racism, wearing masks, riots, nooses, those who don’t wear masks, financial tremors, and the squabbling of leaders who should try to calm us rather than exploit these bizarre times for their political gain.
If things continue as planned, Major League Baseball will be back July 23, the NBA will return July 30, NFL training camps will open July 28, and college football camps should open around that same period. That will give us a little something to think about and look forward to without dwelling on our problems and the behavior that results from the stacking of stress.
That is why sports are so important in our society. It isn’t about bulky and speedy men jumping, swinging, blocking, tackling, and throwing. Sports distract us from mundanity, injustice, and fury. They give us a shot of frivolity in a world of filled with too many reasons for anguish.
Without sports and other distractions, we yell at each other about wearing a mask, or refusing to wear one. We stay glued to news networks who understand fear is the fuel for our continued patronage. If they can frighten us sufficiently, we will eventually refuse to watch anything else.
And that is why many viewers, listeners, and readers plead with people who are paid to report on and talk about sports stay in that lane. They covet something a little bit normal – a return to the silly respite sports talk and games present, rather than bathing ourselves in a torrent of terrifying realities.
Hosts tend to view talking about sports in troubled times as a wasted opportunity. They want to shout too – to use their pulpit to help make sense of the bizarre and torturous cocktail of discomforts that surrounds us. But that is not what we need from them. We need laughs, NFL news, NBA updates, and conversations about who was the best at his or her position.
There are plenty of manipulative pundits who are paid to provoke us with video and descriptions of terrifying micro-realities. But, we also need an outlet to decompress for a few minutes, a safe place where we can embrace the ridiculous instead of recoiling in horror.
That’s the role of the sports guy. As frivolous as sports may be, the break listening to people talk about them is incredibly important in maintain our societal ecosystem.
Staying in your lane is not a silly choice – it’s an incredible help to those who need something in their lives that resembles normal to hear and watch.