Column: Life will go on without March Madness

By Anthony Conchel - [email protected]

I love March Madness and I’m going to miss it terribly. It’s one of my favorite times for watching sports.

The decisions made Wednesday and Thursday were historic, canceling every sporting event from pro basketball to the Ohio state tournaments for wrestling and girls basketball.

That’s never been done. Hopefully, it won’t ever have to happen again.

Local events like the monthly Morrow County Chamber of Commerce luncheon, the annual benefit Chili-Cook and Bake-Off, a popular gathering, fell victim to the coronavirus.

We don’t like being inconvenienced and we hate when our entertainment options are compromised.

We’ll get over it. Quickly, I hope.

There’s nothing better than taking in a state-level sporting event in Columbus, or watching an NCAA game on television this month. But it’s not life or death.

I feel so bad for those high school athletes denied the opportunity to compete on the biggest stage with the crown jewel at stake. But if sports is supposed to teach life lessons, this one’s for them even if it is painful.

An infectious pandemic, whether you think it’s real or over-hyped by the media, is not to be ignored. It has deadly consequences.

Church and community breakfasts are the backbone of places like Mount Gilead. Neighbors, family and friends gathering over food and fellowship. But it’s not life or death.

I was a bit put off when Gov. Mike DeWine ordered schools closed and crowds limited. But hopefully, he was showing leadership. I hope it wasn’t political grandstanding.

President Donald Trump banned flights from 26 European countries into the United States. I don’t think he was trying to gain votes. I have to believe he had public health and safety first and foremost in his thinking.

Leadership isn’t about being popular. It’s about being smart. And hopefully right.

Perhaps the coming days and months will be good for us. Don’t get me wrong.

There is a harsh economic price to pay for these cancelations. Billions of dollars in revenue likely will be lost in many industries.

But maybe this will do our collective psyche some good.

Take a breath. Exhale and stop the political bickering from this village to the nation’s capital. The division is killing America in a way no terrorist’s bomb could.

In some way, the coronavirus could unite us, the way 9/11 did nearly two decades ago.

Instead of watching hoops, volunteer to help a neighbor. Spend more time with a family member you haven’t seen.

Read a book you’ve been meaning to pick up. Take a walk and just think.

Call your church or favorite non-profit agency. Maybe they need some volunteer help.

Cherish the extra time with your pet. Dusty, are you reading this?

I’m obviously searching for a silver lining. I hope everyone is.

That void Thursday through Sunday is going to be difficult to fill. But I plan on trying and hope you are as well.

We’ll adapt and this will pass. We will survive because we are Americans and that’s what we do.

By Anthony Conchel

[email protected]