Sports are over. For now. Possibly for a long time.
The misguided hope that they could weather a global pandemic began to lose steam slowly at first, but has grown to a constant torrent as the hours pass. The question is no longer if the next event is canceled, it's when. Certainty was a luxury we didn't appreciate. Not for the big stuff and not for the trivial.
The most reliable and longest-standing communal escape mechanism is going away as we enter a period where people will need escape and distraction. These large communal gatherings, putting athletes and patrons alike in close proximity, are a dangerous accelerant of disease, which is wickedly cruel.
These next few hours will feel like days and the days like weeks or months. It's a realization people have been slow to make and accept. But once the true scope of coronavirus -- or at the very least the drastic steps needed to combat it -- pierced collective conscience, there was no putting it back in the tube.
It is dominating conversations and inner monologues. It is sucking the air of every room that acknowledges its presence. This is forcing a singular focus on the unpleasant only the rarest events are capable of doing.
Wednesday night was a pivotal moment in time as average Americans, reliant on viewing things through the eyes of celebrity, began to appreciate the severity. If Tom Hanks can get it, anyone can. If Rudy Gobert can get it despite having access to an insanely dedicated training staff, there are no superhuman precautions to skirt the problem of being human and susceptible to sickness.
Sports have called a timeout. There's a rain delay until this storm passes. They, like the rest of society, are shifting to the four-corners offense to bleed clock and hope time is an ally in this fight.