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So Far Away

It would be so fine to see your face at my door.

Empty stadium seating... Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

So far away; doesn’t anybody stay in one place anymore?

It’s hard to know what to say, at this point in time. The ACC Tournament was cancelled a little over a month ago, with the NCAA Tournament following closely behind. Those of us fortunate enough to still be working have, for the most part, been working from home for somewhere around a month now. The re-runs that they’re showing on TV, classic games that we already know by heart, are broken up by ad breaks chock full of companies giving their unsolicited takes on ‘these uncertain times,’ usually coupled with the hollow promise that we’ll get through this together. This distance, even when venturing out for food or other essentials, has never felt greater. It’s evident when you make accidental eye contact with someone in the grocery store, faces otherwise obscured by masks that don’t quite fit properly—perhaps even hastily made from an old t-shirt because Christ, anything is better than nothing—this apprehension, while shared between us, is divisive by nature.

It doesn’t help to know that you’re just time away.

It almost makes me feel guilty that my mind focuses so readily on the loss of sports, when there are so many folks who have lost so much more. This is something I can understand, though, something I can talk about; a way for me to filter all of the inestimable suffering and put it into a context that I can begin to digest without being overwhelmed. After all, sports will come back. We will get to collectively cheer for the Tar Heels again, and I can’t wait for the day to return when the most we have to complain about is Coach Williams sitting on a timeout that we can all agree he should have called. For now, though, things just kinda f***ing suck.

Long ago I reached for you and there you stood; holding you again could only do me good.

In my life, there have been times I’ve needed distractions. After losing a job, losing a friend, losing a relationship—there are times when I have been saved by having somewhere to go, something else to focus on to take my mind off of things. In some of those cases, I’ve buried myself in sports, watching clips and reading through tales of heroics in seasons past to give my mind something else to focus on. I’d be shocked if I were alone in that, but obviously I can’t speak to anyone else’s experience. Your presence here on a sports blog, though, would indicate that perhaps you’ve had similar experiences, that maybe we have that in common. And now, like me, you may have found yourself adrift; staring down this all-encompassing thing with a nothing but a yawning void in the places you used to go for solace, for distraction, for normalcy.

One more song about moving along the highway—can’t say much of anything that’s new.

It’s tough to find a silver lining, sometimes, and far smarter folks than myself have written many words in the attempt. Even Carole King, in the song I’ve had on repeat since I sat down at my desk to start writing, didn’t exactly find an answer to her question, nor a resolution to the feeling behind it. Sometimes that’s the case, and an answer is not readily available. Sometimes you have to just let yourself acknowledge that things are bad, and focus on controlling the things you still can. If we keep going, keep moving along that proverbial highway, eventually we will have something to look forward to. Eventually we’ll be able to go to our favorite bar to watch the Heels play, and we’ll be able to sit near our friends, or parents, or anyone else we’re missing like hell right about now. Eventually, yes, but not right now, and it’s perfectly valid to mourn the things we miss the most.