This article is part of our College Hoops Barometer series.
The college basketball season is back, just as COVID-19 is spiking again around the nation. It may seem contradictory to laud the return of sports while at the same time expressing concern over the safety and welfare of the general public. But these do not have to be diametrically opposite positions.
For better or worse, 2020 has brought into focus what matters most. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are the tenets this nation was founded upon. There's a reason that phrase starts with "life". It is the most precious, the most valuable commodity. COVID-19, police brutality, global warming are issues that directly affect life itself. Without life, there is nothing else. Our response to the virus, senseless killings and the destruction of our environment go towards the very preservation of this precious commodity.
Sports can feel like life or death sometimes. We know it's not. But it can seem like that.
When the NCAA Tournament was canceled in the middle of March, that was one of the first stunning realizations of the gravity and seriousness of this nearly unprecedented situation concerning COVID-19. The last nine months or so have been long, difficult, and downright tragic.
Sports seasons come and go, but they don't usually go without saying goodbye. They don't usually end prematurely and abruptly due to a pandemic. The promise of next season usually lurks beyond the horizon. That was taken away from us as well.
The return of sports has been a welcome sign. Not quite