Right about now as this is being written the Atlantic Ten final would be tipping off. It is Sunday afternoon. Safe to say it would be another impressive show of strength by Dayton, though nothing is guaranteed. That latter thought, these days especially, applies to more than just basketball.
Thursday morning the plan was to drive to Barclays to cover the evening doubleheader. Shortly after confirming the location of the parking garages near the arena, the news hit. The Atlantic Ten Tournament was cancelled. Soon after the NCAA decreed the entire season is over.
There are many programs feeling the pain of disappointment over this. Arguably none more than Dayton. The Flyers were in the midst of a once in a lifetime season with a very real chance of going to the Final Four in Atlanta. Maybe even cutting down the nights on a Monday evening in April. Dayton , and their devoted faithful can only ponder the ‘what if’.
On a personal side is the disappointment of not meeting colleagues from this very site. Covering the games. Taking in the atmosphere at Barclays. Also, the chance to catch up with fellow St. Bonaventure alums, who always turned the tournament into a party and mini reunion. All these gone by the wayside.
The adjective ‘surreal’ has been oft used and accurate to describe the situation. Many have altered ‘March Madness’ to ‘March Sadness’.
In difficult times sport becomes an outlet to get us through. We do not even have that at this point.
A year ago the conference held its final on a sunny afternoon so similar to today. A year later there is a monumental difference. Barclays is empty. The season is in the books. The Coronavirus has affected all our lives to some degree.
The game we love will still be chronicled here and discussed. Despite the absence of games, it is not completely going away. There is still the feeling of disappointment. That is natural. It should be balanced by a feeling of thankfulness for the season, though not complete, that we did have.
Everyone stay vigilant and stay safe.