My three greatest passions in life are sports, music and photography.
I’ve experienced sports as a participant, fan and as a photojournalist.
I’ve kept up with sports teams and athletes for as long as I can remember. It’s important to me to follow my favorite teams in print, on the television, radio and internet or in person.
But as passionate as I am about sports, I realize exactly where sports ranks in terms of priority. It’s great to watch a ball game or play in one, but it’s not a necessity. In fact, it’s often a pleasant diversion from the sometimes harsh realities of life.
So I’m disappointed that the sports world in the U.S. has basically been put on hold because of the coronavirus. But I get it. It’s not worth the risk of people getting sick and heaven forbid, dying because they attended a sporting event and were in contact with someone infected by the virus.
I’m disappointed for basketball teams like the Texas A&M University-Commerce Lion women, who were enjoying their best season in school history but didn’t get to play in the NCAA Division II national tournament, which was called off. How far could the Lions have advanced? Could they have reached the 30-win mark for the first time? We won’t know but at least they played in 31 games, winning 28 of them, and they beat a defending national champion (Lubbock Christian).
I’m disappointed we won’t see the intense games of March Madness in the NCAA Division I tournament. Those are the best NCAA games to watch and there were always upsets that messed up fans’ brackets. We could crown a national champion, but only in a vote, not on the court where it really counts.
But again, those teams played plenty of basketball before the halt.
I’m disappointed for the Wylie Pirates, who made it to the state basketball tournament for the first time in school history but didn’t get to play before the University Interscholastic League called off the rest of the tournament. Wylie’s roster included five seniors. This may have been their last chance to play in a state high school tournament.
I’m disappointed for the vendors, motel owners, restaurant owners and workers, other businesses etc. that are affected when a tournament or sporting event is canceled. I applaud Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban’s plan to pay the Mavericks’ hourly workers as if the team was still playing.
At least the NBA and NHL will get to reschedule. Those leagues have played enough games that they could go straight to a playoff format if and when play can resume.
Major League Baseball is on hold now but still has plenty time left to get in some kind of season.
The Masters golf tournament can play on another date. Possibly in the fall.
Some other events that have been canceled won’t be played and that’s a shame but there will always be another ball game, another sport to follow. It just may take a while.
Congratulations to Texas A&M University-Commerce senior Wayne Stewart, who won the 2020 State Farm Dark Horse Dunk contest. Stewart beat out 15 other contestants in four weeks of online voting, thanks to a lot of support from Lion fans and those who clicked on his highlight reel and saw his spectacular dunking skills. The winner was supposed to go to the 2020 State Farm College Slam Dunk and 3-Point Championships on April 2 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta but I’m assuming that event was also probably canceled due to concerns over the coronavirus.
My hat’s off to Greenville Lion baseball players Luke Adel, Landon Koger and Brandon Stevens, who slugged three consecutive home runs against Gilmer on Thursday at the Wills Point baseball tournament. Koger also slugged a second homer later in the game.
Three in a row. That doesn’t happen very often in baseball.
David Claybourn is sports editor of the Herald-Banner.