By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
At church last Sunday morning, I approached one of our elders – a good-natured kupuna who enjoys greeting everyone with a handshake or hug. This time, however, it was a bit different.
”What should we do?” he asked with a smile. “Fist bump? Maybe touch elbows?”
i didn’t hesitate. “How about a kiss?”
We all got got a good laugh out of that. None of us knew that it would be our last time together for a while. Just a few days later, our pastor announced that, due to the threat of Covid-19, all church services would be suspended until further notice.
It was just over a week ago that the hot topic in our ESPN Honolulu offices centered around the Big West Basketball Tournament and how far the Rainbow Warriors and Rainbow Wahine might advance. In a matter of hours, however, there was no more Big West Tournament. And then the NBA suspended its season. And then Major League Baseball and the NHL. When the NCAA canceled its basketball tournaments, we all figured, “It doesn’t get worse than that.” Then the University of Hawaii announced the cancellation of the remainder of its spring sports schedules.
March Madness gave way to March Sadness.
Things, of course, have only gotten crazier since then. Schools are closed. Offices have shut down. Dine-in restaurants, bars, movie theaters and retail shops have shuttered their doors. Events big and small have been canceled or postponed. In Las Vegas, Hawaii’s “Ninth Island,” hotels and casinos have gone dark.
I never thought there would ever come a time when I would hear a Hawaii Governor say, “Tourists, please don’t come.”
Crazy, crazy times.
And so here we are. I am writing this from home (In basketball terms, this is the ultimate isolation play). Everyone in our ESPN Honolulu ohana is striving to balance work productivity with following the proper health and safety protocols. Like everyone else, we’re trying to make the best out of this difficult situation.
And you know what? I like what I’m seeing. Businesses are rising to the challenge and finding innovative ways to both navigate these rough waters and serve their communities. I just read that 39 public schools in Hawaii will be providing breakfast and lunch to children during this extended spring break. And people are stepping up their Aloha to help those in need. On social media, Rainbow Wahine soccer coach Michele Nagamine revealed a text message she received from her team captain: “Hi Coach Bud! If you know anyone who’s elderly or has health issues, I would be happy to do errands for them or do anything they might feel uncomfortable doing during this pandemic!”
Even with this imposing, dark cloud hovering over us, bright rays of hope are shining through.
We’ll get through this. And for sports fans, yes, the games will come back. There is so much to look forward to: a new era in UH football; the return of high school sports; Tom Brady in Tampa; Marcus Mariota in Las Vegas; another great season of Rainbow Wahine volleyball.
The good times will come back. We just have to get through these current times.
These crazy, oh-so-crazy times.
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