Wednesday was the one-year anniversary of Rudy Gobert testing positive for COVID and the sports world stopping in its tracks as, more importantly, people began to wrap their brains around just how much life was going to change because of the outbreak. And change it did. In devastating and rehabilitating ways. In ways seen but also largely unseen.
One year later, things are undeniably getting better and hope is increasing exponentially. Feeling optimistic is hard because it should be hard against the backdrop of one American death per second since that night — an almost surreal yet very real pace we set through fate and stubbornness.
Still, the sports world, which adapted and forged on against myriad setbacks and difficulties to provide that sense of distractive escape, is teeming with hard evidence that a better year lies ahead. The rules and regulations may not be uniform yet the seeds of normalcy have been planted all over and are blooming at different rates.
Scott Van Pelt spoke to all of this in his One Big Thing segment on last night's SportsCenter.
At many times, I've been among the group Van Pelt mentions that either doesn't want to or cannot be optimistic. But as we sit here with an NCAA Tournament a week away and the prospect of baseball fans drinking beer and cheering for their teams in person on Opening Day, it does feel as though some sort of significant corner has been rounded. There may be a few more stumbles coming home and the pandemic will surely mount another rally at some point, but for now, it might be both helpful and warranted to assess the state of things and appreciate that the worst is behind us and there's so much good to re-realize.