September is here but in a way it doesn’t feel like September. In a normal year, I wouldn’t need a calendar to tell me that it is the ninth month of the year. Rather, I could tell by the tailgates springing up around whatever campus I was working on. Or, I would know by flipping on the radio and listening to the opening topic on any sports talk station. Or, I could turn on the TV during the first Saturday of the month and see stadiums filled to the brim under the beautiful sunlight of a late summer day.
Basically, September always arrived when the college football season kicked off in earnest.
We all complain that the Coronavirus has stolen sports from us. But of course, there are so many other implications besides the big picture of no athletic competitions. We miss our traditions, our fantasy leagues, our television packages, our evenings at the ballpark, our escapes from reality. Those of us who are sports fans feel the sting in countless different ways.
For me, I miss the way sports serve as my calendar.
Throughout most of my life, I have used major sporting events synonymously with different times of the year. Sports rightfully took a backseat when COVID-19 ripped through the U.S. in time to wipe out all of the NCAA basketball conference tournaments. This of course led to the cancellation of March Madness. Well, I guess it should come as no surprise that the greatest sports tournament on the planet made me think of March because of its namesake, but it also made me think of other things. I have always equated March Madness with the start of spring and the ushering in of warmer weather…light at the end of the tunnel if you will. With COVID, all we got was a false sense that there could be light at the end of tunnel in terms of the virus being defeated.
I have always known it was April when golf’s greats converged on Augusta National for the sport’s most riveting tourney. The Masters remind me of Easter and the start of my own personal golf season. I would become aware that showers turned to flowers when the Run for the Roses was contested in early May (don’t forget that the Kentucky Derby will run this Saturday!). Although I would never actually forget the very special day, the pink bats used on Mother’s Day weekend in Major League Baseball never failed to drive the point home that my wife and mom deserved nothing but the best in mid-May.
The NBA Finals in mid-June always signified for me the early start of summer and a slate of fun activities coming up in the ensuing weeks. The month of June also screams golf again with the U.S. Open, usually taking place during Father’s Day weekend.
You know it is the heart of summer when a couple of big time July sporting contests take place. Wimbledon occurs during that first week of the month and then what I recognize as the epitome of all summer athletic events, the MLB All-Star game, takes center stage not too long after. Seriously, I didn’t know how I was going to enjoy Summer 2020 without the Midsummer Classic (I somehow managed).
The Little League World Series, along with training camp for all levels of football, wind down the summer in August. The month is always a little bitter because the days start to get shorter and we head back to work/school fulltime but there is tremendous optimism because the football season is right around the corner…
Which is where we should be right now…at least in terms of the college season. But we aren’t, and that’s okay—there are more pressing issues in the world. But I would be lying if I said that the sports calendar didn’t keep me up to speed with the Gregorian calendar. It has definitely been a little strange navigating through the past several months without athletics to keep me on track. But dang it, what a small thing to trivialize over, right? Don’t Blink.