McCollum MIAA tournament

Northwest men's basketball coach Ben McCollum waves to supporters March 8 after cutting down the net in celebration of Northwest's fifth consecutive MIAA Tournament Championship at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri. McCollum didn't know then the game would be the last of the season for the Bearcats. 

I want to start off by saying that I get it. I get that you’re frustrated, upset, whatever it might be — understandably so.

You were supposed to watch Northwest men’s basketball cut down a third net March 17 in Bearcat Arena after winning its third regional championship in four years. Along with that, possibly a fourth net once the Bearcats won their third national championship in four years April 5 in Atlanta, Georgia.

You were supposed to watch the athletes that belong to spring sports, specifically the seniors, have a moment of closure to end their collegiate career. Thankfully for those athletes, it seems as if the NCAA is exploring options to reinstate a year of eligibility.

For winter sports athletes, it doesn’t appear to be as promising.

Now, you’ll have to watch nothing because of COVID-19 canceling the postseason of winter sports, along with the MIAA announcing March 17 that it’s putting a halt to the remainder of the season for spring sports.

But I promise that’s OK.

There’s a lot of skepticism going on regarding the spread of the coronavirus. I’ve heard the pessimistic comments reverberating off of the empty toilet paper shelves at Maryville’s Walmart. I’ve seen jokes on Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media. This virus, obviously one that’s not yet thoroughly known, isn’t one to take lightly.

To Northwest men’s basketball coach Ben McCollum’s knowledge March 10, the virus was somewhat similar to the common flu. Less than 48 hours later, it was announced that Maryville wouldn’t be hosting the Division II Central Region Tournament, where his team was competing for the chance to be regional champions for the third time in four years, as NCAA President Mark Emmert cut the second semester of collegiate athletics short March 12.

But it’s better to be forced in the house wondering about what could’ve been as opposed to being forced in the house because you’re quarantined.

This extends further than the athletes themselves. The sooner that people realize that, the better off everyone will be. As I said, I get it that you’re mad you can’t watch McCollum add another trophy to his collection, but the chance of getting someone seriously ill in the process isn’t worth it.

It could’ve been the players. It could’ve been a player’s grandparents. It could’ve been you. All of whom are people that were at risk of being exposed to the virus should the NCAA have sat on its hands and continued to move forward with sporting events. If anything, we should all take a step back and cultivate an appreciation for the drastic measures schools, cities and the organization went to so that they played their parts in reducing the spread of the virus.

This is unlike anything that any of us have ever seen. Yes, I’m even talking to the person that thinks they have a solution based on something they’ve seen on social media.

It’s OK to be without sports for a little bit, as much as that hurts to think about.

In the end, it’s the right choice and probably the best one at this point in time.

So, in other words, you’ll be alright. We all will be, I think. March Madness is synonymous with this time of the year, but we didn’t think it’d be this mad. With that being said, it’s a good thing that we’re without sports for a little bit — perhaps it won’t get any madder.

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