Sheltering in place with no sports on TV is a recipe for love, or disdain.
Men in general, whether they’re husbands or dads or simply golf fans, won't be as quick to scoff as those who don't fall into those aforementioned demographics, but I'm just going to own it: When my wife and I started planning an Arizona getaway a couple months ago and picked the second week of March as the time to embark on our trip, once we actually bought the plane tickets and booked the resort, I suffered a quick-onset moment of cold-sweat panic.
I realized our trip would be taking place the same week as The Players Championship, one of the most popular and intense PGA tournaments, played at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, a course my family actually played a few years ago. I think I actually muttered an audible, "uh-oh" that caused my wife to wonder what was wrong. But by the time I managed to muster an answer – which generated a serious eye roll accompanied by a weary sigh – I'd done some quick calculating in my head and realized that we'd be home by mid-day Saturday, meaning I'd be able to plant myself in the recliner in the living room and spend the bulk of my post-Arizona trip weekend obsessing over the final two rounds of the 2020 PGA Championship.
Of course, that utopian paradise of an image is all long-gone now. Pretty much every major sporting event this spring has either been postponed or cancelled, including The Players Championship. After the first round was played March 12 in front of no fans and only "essential" staff, family and players' coaches, the PGA called the rest of the tournament off.
So there's no golf. There's no NHL - the Minnesota Wild were one point out of a playoff spot and mere hours away from dropping the puck in a crucial game that, with a victory, would have catapulted them back into the postseason, when the league suspended play. The Timberwolves...well, not playing is probably for the best for that cursed and/or bungling Minnesota NBA franchise. No college basketball "March Madness." A delayed start to Major League Baseball's season, which looks to be hugely entertaining for Minnesota Twins fans. No college hockey playoffs. No Premier League soccer, which apparently some people like to spend their weekend mornings watching. The Masters. Postponed. The Masters...a tradition unlike any other. Augusta National. The sweet sound of the beautiful piano theme music. The pine straw. Not pine needles...pine straw. The patrons. Not fans or the crowd...patrons. The second cut. Not the rough...the second cut. The guys in the green jackets. Amen Corner. Holes named after plants and flowers and trees. Jim Nanz...”Welcome friends.” Oh, the humanity...
Mark my words. Or maybe, better yet, mark the calendar. Because, when we finally start to get past this virus once and for all and life starts to return to a some semblance of normalcy, when we look back at this time when people are being asked to practice "social distancing" by staying away from large groups in favor of staying home – sheltering in place, they’re calling it – and there are no live sports on television - repeat...NO LIVE SPORTS ON TELEVISION - two potential outcomes are going to emerge at that point in time:
1. A baby boom, with "Corona" and "Covid" each finding a spot in the most popular baby names of 2021 list.
1. A massive uptick in divorces. I have already commenced with the necessary steps to trademark my terms, "corona-vorce” and “COVID-ivorce.” Infidelity? Irreconcilable differences? Forget all that. There are NO LIVE SPORTS ON TELEVISION.
My wife brought home a 2,000 piece puzzle the other day. A colleague who apparently burns through around 10 of them a week gave it to her.
"What are we supposed to do with this?" I asked. Yes, I really asked that.
"Put it together," my wife replied, with semi-artificial but also some downright sincere enthusiasm.
"And then what?" I inquired.
She said her colleague takes a photo of each completed puzzle, breaks it back down and puts it back in the box.
As of this writing, the puzzle box remains, undisturbed, on the granite ledge in front of the fireplace. It will remain there. For as long as it takes.
We loaded up, somewhat, on food and necessary supplies at Hugo’s and Walmart. I bought an extra 50-pound bag of birdseed at Hardware Hank. And, yes, we made a significant investment at Best Buy Liquor.
So we’ll be eating, sanitizing and disinfecting, watching the springtime birds arrive in the backyard, and likely enjoying a cocktail now and then.
Who knows? If I hit the booze hard enough, maybe I’ll tackle that puzzle.