Mind of martinez
Photo Credit: Washington Post

 

FSM Presents: The Mind of Martinez – March 11th, 2020: The Day That Changed Everything

Franchise Sports Media

 

It started just like any other day. It’s a day that still doesn’t seem real. It was a day filled with two different realities. 

 

Mind of Martinez
Photo Credit: Washington Post

March 11th, 2020 will forever be a date remembered by sports fans. 

One year ago, the NBA suspended its season after Utah Jazz center Ruby Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. The shutdown started a ripple effect across the sports world. After Gobert tested positive for the virus prior to a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder and there was a video surfaced of the Jazz big man. Gobert touched mics as a joke when he left a media session – an incident that occurred three days before his positive test. 

I will never forget where I was when I read the notification on my phone. 

I was shocked. 

It was one of those “Where were you moments.” 

I was covering a high school baseball game in Kingsburg, California, and I remembered the stands had a great turnout. The bleachers were nearly full, and that was the last time I covered a game with no crowd limitations. 

 

Days leading up to March 11th, there were some high school athletic programs in the Central Valley that either adjusted their schedules or canceled events and practices amid virus concerns. 

 

After the events on March 11th, high school athletics were shut down across the country, and schools were closed nationwide, which I never thought would happen. 

Before the NBA’s shutdown, there were discussions that some NBA games were going to be played without fans. The Golden State Warriors were scheduled to play the Brooklyn Nets at the Chase Center without fans on March 12. No fans were allowed after San Francisco mayor London Breed banned gatherings of over 1,000 people in the city. 

The way we lived has changed since last March. 

 

Lockdowns began to happen across the country, as California was the first state to have a shelter in place order on March 19 and other states would soon follow.  

 

Distance learning became the norm for elementary, high school, and college students. Graduations became a drive-through event, which was disappointing for many high school and college seniors, and I understand. It’s a moment you can’t get back. 

People began to work from home – including yours truly – and zoom became an integral part of the workforce.

Some couldn’t recover from the financial loss from the pandemic, with businesses shut down and would close their doors forever. 

Families across the country and the world have lost loved ones to the virus and are still grieving. 

 

From morning to night, March 11th was the most eventful day in 2020. 

 

Photo Credit: ClickOrlando

Earlier that morning, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci testified before Congress that the coronavirus outbreak in America would get worse. Later after Dr. Fauci’s statements were public, the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. 

Actor Tom Hanks announced on his Instagram that he and his wife – actor Rita Wilson – had tested positive for the virus and were quarantined in Australia.

I found out about Hanks after Gobert’s positive test, and that’s when I was in disbelief. I couldn’t believe that actors and athletes could get infected with this virus—a virus that most of the American public wasn’t worried about that previous weekend. 

In the following days after the NBA’s shutdown, the NHL season was suspended, the start of the MLB season was delayed, the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments were canceled, and the Tokyo Summer Olympics was postponed to this year. 

 

It was hard to process life without sports, but as the days passed by, I realized we were dealing with something bigger than all of us. 

 

Lakers Preview
Photo Credit: NBC Sports

Sports did eventually make a return in the summer, with the NBA and NHL resuming their seasons in a bubble. The NBA finished the season in Orlando, Florida. At the same time, the NHL concluded its season with a modified and expanded version of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Canadian hub cities – Toronto and Edmonton

There was a baseball season, but it was shortened to 60 games and played with no fans until the World Series, which was held in Arlington, Texas. Even though the MLB played, Minor League Baseball was canceled in 2020. 

The NFL played an entire season during the pandemic, with some teams allowing a limited number of fans. The league ended up having 25,000 people, 7,500 of whom were vaccinated health care workers, at the Super Bowl in Tampa Bay

 

Now that it’s March 11, 2021, there is some hope that normalcy will return with the vaccine being distributed throughout the country. 

 

It’s going to be a while until large gatherings are normal and universally acceptable. It’s going to be a while until professional sports games will be packed. It’s going to be a while until a packed baseball stadium will sing, “Take me out to the ballgame.” 

 

I can’t wait for the day until I buy “some peanuts and crackerjacks” and “root, root, root for the home team.” But until then, stay safe and wear a mask. 

 

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-Jeremiah Martinez– Franchise Sports Media

Follow Jeremiah on Twitter @TheJerryMartin

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