Andy Dufrense posited that hope was the best of all things but that's only because he lived out his days in a beachfront paradise. He probably would have had a different take if crawling through a tunnel of feces resulted in nothing more than being caught and thrown in the hole for months on end. So with that in mind, and the increasingly bold handwriting on the wall growing in font size so even those mostly blind to reality are beginning to understand that there may not be sports for a long, long time, let's consider this question.
If things continue to go south and we're robbed of 95 percent of all competitive sports for, say, more than a year, will we wish that the process had been more callous? Will we wonder if things had been better if society treated the removal of sports like a Band-Aid? One violent swipe and right off.
Not to be a fatalist, but it sure seems like we're in as bad a spot as we've been at any point of this pandemic. The future is powerfully uncertain. It should always have felt that way. The only sane approach was to guard one's self against the very real possibility that sports would be placed on the back-burner for an unprecedented period. Having that mindset did not mean one was rooting for the virus or taking pleasure in fear porn, as some grifters claimed. All it meant is that eyes and ears were open while careening ever-faster toward a cliff.
Again, hope is not lost. Yet. But if the worst comes to pass and there's no athletic distraction to dull the daily, neverending slog of despair, it may have been better to accept that reality months ago than have optimism slowly drained with daily updates.
It is painful to watch people slowly realize the inevitability of college football's impending gap year. It's human to root for the best but at a certain point the crush of reality has to change mindsets. It's incredible to see scores of respected writers and pundits quote-tweet negative news about football's prospects with WOW or MAJOR or HUGE when the bad news has always been looming around the corner, visible to anyone who wanted to look.
It sucks to posit this question. Everything sucks right now. Months in, it feels like we can breeze past that caveat. Yet, maybe that precursor is the best way to shape every conversation.
Sharper minds than my own can weigh in on which is more damaging to psyche and collective mood: immediate, intense pain or slow-acting but persistent dull pain? Even an amateur psychologists can grasp the detrimental and callousing accumulation of false hope.
Of course, the steady stream of bad news had been more a meandering fjord than a raging waterfall. Barring something unforeseen, leagues and teams will continue to provide Monday morning updates pushing start dates back and revealing more and more flies in the restart ointment. Christ, we may all have some low-grade addiction to these updates already. It may be our saddest yet most reliable sport right now.
Right now this ride doesn't feel as though it's going to get more fun. Perhaps the best course of action is stepping off, even if the landing is a little bumpy.