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Gary’s Blog: Happy New Year!

By Gary Dickman.

I was hoping that this blog entry would be about the University of Hawaii men’s basketball team and their opening series in Big West play against Cal Poly. I did write last week that I’ll feel better about the series being played when I know that Cal Poly had arrived in Honolulu and were at the SimpliFi Arena at the Stan Sherrif Center. Well, that never happened as Cal Poly had COVID cases amongst their team. It wasn’t stated whether it was a player or staff member, but they never got on the plane.

There are five series every week of Big West play, with 10 teams playing and one having the week off. And this opening weekend had four series canceled. Only Irvine and Santa Barbara got to play, and Irvine won both games. I had Big West Commissioner Dan Butterly on Monday’s show. I asked about his thoughts on the cancelled games, and he said “It shows we’re doing the right thing. The schools are putting the health and safety of their student-athletes first, ahead of playing games.” It’s hard to be upset at anyone when we here that response. It’s unfortunate, but it’s been happening and will continue for the next few months. There’s no way around it. Canceled sporting events are part of this new normal, but I hope that will end soon. I’m a little concerned about the layoff for UH. Their last game was December 19th vs UH-Hilo. Their next scheduled game as of now is January 8 against UC Riverside. That’s a gap of 20 days between games, much too long. I’ll preview that series next week, assuming it’ll be played.

I’m glad as I write this knowing this will be the last blog I write in 2020. It’s not that I don’t enjoy writing this. I really do. It’s just that I don’t like 2020. Who could? I have been looking forward to 2021 for a long time, just because it’s not 2020. As I’ve gotten older, I do more self reflecting, and I think a lot about each year as it ends. For me, as this year finally ends, I ask the question, “What if?”

What if the nutcase in Waikiki last January never had access to guns that killed two police officers and burned down several houses? What if the helicopter pilot in LA listened to the weather report and never flew that copter in bad  conditions, killing Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gigi and other passengers? What if Rudy Gobert didn’t touch those microphones, and the sports world wasn’t shut down hours after Gobert tested positive?

What if the NCAA basketball tournament was played in March? Who would have won it all? What if the NBA chose Las Vegas as their bubble instead of Orlando? Would there still have been zero cases in Vegas?
Would the LA Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks have gone further in the playoffs if they had their home court advantage? What if it was a normal, full season of college football? Would the same four teams still be playing in the national semifinals this Friday?
Now, I don’t know the answers to these questions, but can you imagine how different the world would be, if only…


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