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Roundtable: Filling The Sport-less Void

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It’s been quite the couple days

NBA: Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to the Brew Hoop Round Table, where we ask that everybody use coasters and please don’t feed the pugs from the table, thanks. Today, we ruminate on how we’ve had to adjust to the sports world screeching to a halt as we prepare for the worst of COVID-19.


What was your initial reaction to the sports leagues all suspending?

Kyle: It seemed like it all escalated so quickly. What seemed to be “something to keep an eye on,” then turned into “OK, make sure to take the correct measures,” to “everything is shut down” all within a week. I have never seen anything like this before, and the lack of sports globally has created this reality that I don’t think has ever happened.

Mitchell: I was, in a word, dumbfounded. Given the nature of COVID-19, the shutdown was definitely the right call...but suspending everything is beyond unprecedented. It’s downright unfathomable! It absolutely took me a day or two to fully digest that basketball is just gone...and we don’t know when it’s coming back.

Riley: Given the seriousness of the situation in other nations where breakouts really got out of hand, and the more stringent methods used to try and control the spread (Italy had declared a full-blown shutdown shortly beforehand), suspension seemed imminent. That it took a player testing positive to finally force it over the edge was intriguing, at least.

Adam: Taken aback. I had been following the outbreak in other countries over the weeks before, but sports sudden, forceful removal from our lives came before I ever had a chance to process.

How are you going to fill your “free time” in the meantime?

Kyle: Besides mindlessly scrolling through Twitter, Instagram and reddit, I’ve mainly just hung out with my wife and son, playing some video games (Football Manager, Pokemon, and waiting for Animal Crossing). I’ve also been playing board games like Ticket To Ride.

Mitchell: Ooh, Ticket To Ride is a good one. There was a board game thread around these parts not too long ago, and the game Pandemic was mentioned. My wife and I played that a few days ago...it didn’t go well for the world we were trying to save.

Anyways, I’m in a position where I’m still working; if anything, I’m working more because of my role with my organization. It’s coincided well with my younger son’s sleep regression...and learning to walk...and teething... yeah, things are going great...

Riley: Free time? People have free time now? Like Mitchell, I’m trudging into that beating heart of Upper Midwestern commerce known as downtown Minneapolis. My time is spent dodging other humans, sanitizing poles on buses before I use them to brace myself, and ensuring that agricultural export trade doesn’t come to a crashing halt.

Adam: Similar to Mitchell, some free time is getting swallowed by the repercussions of this at my actual profession. My wife works in the medical field, so I’ll be trying to ensure she gets through all this intact. That means lots of home-cooked meals with the added challenge of cupboard cooking rather than random grocery runs.

As for the other hours, I covered video games at the school newspaper for most of college before falling off the wagon for the past two or three years. I’m hoping to dive into an ever-growing backlog and pick up a few more books.

Favorite Hobby?

Kyle: Something that I have been slowly getting comfortable with is baking. It’s fun trying different recipes, and the reward is hopefully I can eat something delicious that I baked myself.

Mitchell: Well I was looking forward to being able to play basketball at my indoor league, but they went ahead and shut that one down too. What a world! I’m not a video gamer (anymore), but I have become a fifth edition D&D devotee, so if you’re looking to fill some hours with high fantasy-inspired improvised nonsense, I’m your guy.

Riley: If running can be considered a hobby (and I assure you that on its merits it is in fact the antonym to the word ‘hobby’), then that’s my hobby. I run somewhere between 6-7 miles a day during the week and usually something a little longer over the weekend. Truly an awful, demoralizing, painful, and time-consuming hobby. I love it.

Adam: I love cooking, especially recipes with far too many steps and ingredients. I’ll have to pare back on the complexity, but it should still be grand. Beyond that, mostly vegging out and watching television.

TV/Movie Recommendations?

Kyle: The Good Place has always been a must watch TV series for me. 4 seasons and 30 minute episodes have it go by quickly. For a movie recommendation, I would say Parasite, Space Jam, Training Day are great as well. You can also listen to past podcast episodes and hear all of my film reviews ;)

Mitchell: Gabe would have my head if I didn’t use this opportunity to mention Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. He’s right, though.

Riley: I consume neither form of media, so pass here.

Adam: If anyone never watched Twin Peaks, I can’t recommend it highly enough. I binged the first two seasons before the third released and never regretted a second of it. Also - What We Do In the Shadows is a severely underrated FX comedy.

Book recommendations?

Kyle: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch; the book is about a physicist who gets abducted by mysterious people, and when he wakes up his world has completely changed and he’s not sure how it happened. It’s a good sci-fi novel that is also paced pretty well.

Mitchell: I’m in the middle of Sapiens by Dr. Yuval Noah Harari; it’s a fascinating read on how – and why – our world and our species developed the way that it did. You’ll never look at wheat the same way again!

Riley: On the opposite ledger, I read and write aplenty in my off hours. Here’s what I checked out at the library to get me through a complete collapse of society: “Black Lamb & Grey Falcon” by Rebecca West, “Gabriele D’Annunzio” by Lucy Hughes-Hallett, “Italo Balbo” by Claudio Segre, “John Maynard Keynes, 1883-1946” by Robert Skidelsky, and “Wages of Destruction” by Adam Tooze. I presume all of these to be good/interesting.

Adam: I’m reading Range by David Epstein at the moment, but am hoping to get through a re-read of Dune to prep myself for the impending movie release later this year (hopefully!)

Any parting comments?

Kyle: WASH YOUR DAMN HANDS AND PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING.

Mitchell: What Kyle said, and I miss the Bucks. :(

Riley: These are indeed trying times, and it can be easy to give in to despair at the chaos wracking society or go the other way and dismiss it all as a big to-do about nothing. Take the situation seriously, but find solace in the fact that humanity is capable of glorious deeds of kindness and problem-solving when called to the challenge.

Adam: As I said before, my wife works in healthcare and is already on the frontlines of this fight in her hospital. It will be incredibly difficult when the floodgates finally open. Please, do your best to flatten the curve.