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Gary’s Hoops Scoops: Life Without Sports

The “new normal.” “Social distancing.” “Droplets.” These are words and terms that were unfamiliar to many of us a month ago. And now, they’re in use everyday. I hope that soon, they won’t have to be used in everyday conversations, but I realize that won’t be for a while. When this started, and the sports world was put on hold, I thought this would be temporary. Wow, was that wishful thinking. I have now canceled three trips to the mainland in the last month. I have a fourth trip tentatively scheduled for July 24th, but I realize that probably won’t happen either.

I now understand that to plan for any sports to resume, as well as normal travel plans, would be a waste of time because we just don’t know right now. I guess it’s encouraging that numbers both locally, and in some states, have kind of leveled off – and have actually dropped in some places, too. There might be a light at the end of the tunnel (another phrase that has been used more frequently). But that light, for now, would just show that fewer people would be getting infected with COVID-19. Which is very important.

I see every week where all four pro sports leagues, college football and individual sports are estimating when their sports might resume. I’m also starting to hate those assumptions, because that’s all they are. No one knows as of today when the games will return. Which is even more depressing. I’m not going to predict when any sport will return. But I do feel that it’s going to be a long time before we as fans will be attending these games. I don’t see any scenario where we could or should go to games during 2020. And you all know how I love going to games. It’s been a big part of my life and will always be something I enjoy more than almost anything else. I also enjoy being alive.

We hear that in order for us to be able to resume our “Old Normal,” there has to be zero new cases of the Coronavirus for 14 straight days. Makes sense, I guess. But that doesn’t mean the virus is totally eliminated. I will only feel confident when there is a vaccine that works and is available to us all. That might not be until 2021 unless we get a miracle that we all want and deserve. That would affect me and going or not going to games on my trip back east. But it also would affect all of you reading this, who I assume attend a UH game during the year.

I wonder what it will be like if UH football, volleyball and soccer get to start their seasons on time, but also wonder what the situation will be like for fans attending these games. Is there a way for the fans to attend without a vaccine? I don’t know how that will work, but I hope it could somehow. I know how much I miss sports. (Sorry, but the H O R S E competition on ESPN didn’t do it for me, as I only watched half of it. It was that bad.) I know I’ll appreciate going to games even more when I go again. I’ll try not to get mad when I pay $9.00 for a soda at a Knicks game, and they don’t even fill up the cup. Actually, that will still bother me, but I’ll remember 2020 and try to overlook the overcharging. I might be ok when parking at a game will cost more than the game ticket. Again, I’m not sure I’ll be ok with that, either.

I’ll be glad to have the opportunity to be at a game again. Won’t we all?

Last night was supposed to be the UH Men’s Basketball Banquet. I’ve been fortunate to attend every one for the past 10 years or so. I feel so bad for the players on the team who never got to finish the season or have their awards banquet. At least they had their senior night, unlike the spring sports. I was a little surprised with one award. The most improved player went to Samuta Avea, who did improve a lot. Muta developed a really good outside jumper. Just ask UC Davis about the four three-pointers he hit to beat them in early March. He has a good all around game, good on defense, better rebounder too. But I thought Justin Hemsley was going to get it. He improved dramatically from last year. I can see where Avea got it; playing more minutes and contributing more gave him the edge. “Steady” Eddie Stansberry got the MVP. I could see that, although Drew Buggs could have gotten that as well. Zigmars Raimo won the Hustle award, no surprise there. Raimo also shared  the leadership award with Buggs as well.

I wish all of these players and coaches better days ahead. I wish that for all of you as well.

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