This is all so surreal.
I do not remember a time when I went this long without getting overly invested in a game or a match or a meet.
I miss silently disagreeing with the (wrong) sports opinions on Twitter.
I miss turning on the Buccos to play in the background while doing homework.
I miss seeing fans get in lighthearted fights in the streets when a fan from the opposing team proudly sported their team’s colors in the Steel City.
Most importantly, though, I miss going to see my peers compete at the collegiate level in the fields of Greentree and Fairhaven Park.
Unfortunately for my dear friends that should be competing right now, there is not much we can do.
NASCAR recently began an alternative to their normal 36-race season, which came skidding to a halt after just four of those 36.
For drivers interested, NASCAR has iRacing, which according to United Press International, is when “drivers… use a computer connected to the Internet, a monitor, steering wheel, driver’s seat and pedals to compete against others in virtual races.”
iRacing has been around for years already, with its own athletes (like Timmy Hill, who tallied his 674th iRacing win on Sunday) to compete. The difference now is that standard NASCAR racers now turn to iRacing as an alternative to keep their skills up to par in this downtime.
With professional leagues around the world canceling and postponing seasons, athletes have been turning to alternatives (similarly to NASCAR and iRacing) that have kept them busy.
Obviously, video games like FIFA or 2K do not actually compare to the skills required to actually play soccer or basketball, but athletes have been streaming themselves playing the digital version of their respective sports since the postponement of their in-person competitions.
Athletes around the nation have also taken to social media to show their at-home workouts.
One that stands out to me is Pirates pitcher Joe Musgrove, who has been very active on his social media platforms, sharing his tips and tricks to stay in shape despite the lack of access to a gym. (As an added perk, he is roommates with other athletes, so there is also a plethora of baseball content!)
MLB Network has also hosted various interviews, but not the kind we have been used to for the past few decades that feature a broadcaster and an athlete. These interviews are more entertaining, with one athlete taking over the MLB Network social media platforms and another athlete (usually a friend of the first one) being the subject of the interview.
The point of this whole ramble is that we athletic-subject-inclined people have options during this quarantine!
We can go outside and practice those sports that bring us the most joy, watch reruns of our favorite games, keep up with athletes – both loved and hated – on social media and play virtual versions of our sport of choice.
While this sports-less world is a sad one, there are ways to make it infinitely less sad because of how connected everyone is these days.
This loops back to last week’s column in that we are all together; we are all linked in this struggle of fighting boredom while lacking something we are so passionate about.
While we get used to this new, yet temporary, norm in our lives, it is important to not lose that sense of connectedness.