An Unprecedented Month: Reflecting on the odd times as no games are played


March 12, 2020.

5:30 a.m.

A text alert blaring so loud it startled me from my sleep. My initial thought was, "What breaking news in the sports world is happening at this hour? Who’s contacting me to tell me that someone has been traded, signed or released?"

As I wiped the sleep out of my eyes and started to gather my focus, I realized it was the type of breaking news I’ve never experienced during my 21-plus-year career at Comcast SportsNet/NBC Sports Philadelphia.

The staff was notified to not report to Wells Fargo Center for work that day. We haven’t been back.

Just eight hours prior, the 76ers cruised to an 18-point victory over the Pistons in the very same building. During “Sixers Postgame Live,” Amy Fadool broke the news to Sixers fans that the NBA season had been suspended. Moments right before that decision, we learned Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. The Pistons played the Jazz four nights before their trip to Philadelphia. Wells Fargo Center was shut down in order to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

Like many sports fans, this news hit hard. At the predawn hour, I had that empty feeling in my stomach, which produced flashbacks to September 11, 2001. The world, our world was changing in an unprecedented way for all of us.

Fast-forward one month to today, April 12. It’s Easter Sunday. A day which always makes me think good times are forthcoming. Spring is in the air as you smell that fresh crisp air for the first time after a long, cold winter. Unfortunately, for our own safety, those thoughts have been put on hold.

NBA and NHL playoffs.
The NCAA Tournament.
Trips to Citizens Bank Park.
Watching kids play Little League (this is really what I miss most).

My heart goes out to the many student athletes, whether in grade school, high school or college, who’ve been robbed of putting on their uniforms and hitting the playing field for their respective clubs or schools one final time.

This is bigger than sports. This is life. Our lives consist of family, friends, health, work ... and for me and many of you, sports. On this Sunday, let’s reflect on what we are grateful for, think of those in need, and look forward to the day we see our teams back competing. I’ve never wanted to cheer for Joel Embiid, Claude Giroux and Bryce Harper so badly. When that day happens, I know Philadelphia will represent like no other city in the USA.

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