Friday March 5th, 2021 1:47PM

Lamentation for sports in 2020: A year of living virally

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

Well, had enough yet?

Don’t look at the score.

How bad did it get?

Like nothing before.

B.C. (Before Coronavirus)

The Setup

An omen, maybe. Hard to say.

The drumbeat starts on New Year’s Day.

The calendar flips, one quick turn

And then we’re mourning David Stern.

Wild-card Patriots thrown off course.

New England, Brady mull divorce.

A perfect Cajun title run --

Joe Burrow 's cooking; Clemson’s done.

Astros punished, sign-stealing scheme.

Hinch and GM are dumped by team.

No need to wait. Oh, yes, there’s more --

Cora, Beltran are out the door.

Conor McGregor’s in the cage,

Fighting again, all fists and rage.

Jeter ’s up … for the Hall of Fame.

Just one voter omits his name.

Then in the California hills

The fog rolls in, the heart soon chills.

A chopper’s down: shock, disbelief –

Kobe, daughter and waves of grief.

LeBron, on court, gives heartfelt shout,

A declaration: “Mamba out.”

Sports still reeling by Super Bowl,

Where Patrick Mahomes takes control.

Chiefs rally with alarming speed --

At last a crown for Andy Reid.

Down Under, Novak has his way,

Bulks up his Grand Slam resume.

Pete Rose makes yet another plea:

The Astros were much worse than me.

Auto race scrapped, Chinese Grand Prix.

Whirlwind’s coming we don’t yet see.

Tyson Fury reclaims the throne,

Pummeling Wilder to the bone.

Daytona ends in flames and fear

And Hamlin winning like last year.

Staples Center fills to the hilt

For Kobe at the house he built.

A.C. (After Coronavirus)

The Shutdown

Rudy Gobert is feeling well

But lost his sense of taste and smell.

High-fives banished by NBA,

Fans in Europe are kept away.

Olympic angst: Delay? Abort?

Indecision, a medal sport.

We then look up and turn around --

The house is burning to the ground.

The NBA shuts down its game.

In college sports it’s much the same.

March Madness hangs on hope and prayer

But it’s soon gone, beyond repair:

The games not played, the crowds not heard,

The shots not made, the dreams deferred.

No bracket busters, office pools.

Coronavirus sets the rules.

The NHL, with ample cause,

Decides to put the league on “pause.”

Spring training stops. It’s getting rough.

The Ides of March throws nasty stuff.

Masters forced to run for cover --

A revision like no other.

Kentucky Derby scratched for May;

French Open topples on same day.

Indy 500, down the hatch.

Same with Wimbledon – game, set, match.

Tokyo’s off, the Olympics done.

The torch is passed to ’21.

Sports keep falling like dominoes,

And no one cares about the ‘Stros.

Amid the chaos, doubts and fears

Tom Brady joins the Buccaneers

The Substitutions

Fans are desperate, start to show it --

End of the world as we know it.

They don’t feel fine. They want some juice.

Hey, there’s soccer in Belarus.

Need some action to get it on?

Then bet on baseball in Taiwan.

Try some arm wrestling on TV.

Ax throwing, maybe? Spelling bee?

Filling the void till hoops restarts

Is Jordan’s “Last Dance” (in 10 parts).

Virtual sports help get us back

And NASCAR has the inside track.

Make-believe spin, make-believe crash.

What’s real? Kyle Larson ’s racist trash.

Live and remote! NFL draft.

The league shows off its high-tech craft

Managing this odd displacement --

Roger Goodell in his basement.

Big cable draw, golf’s got the goods:

Peyton, Brady, Mickelson, Woods.

Baseball? Just negotiations,

Insults, tweets and accusations.

Comeback plans for Fourth of July

Go stale like month-old apple pie.

The Struggle

Part I

Death on a Minnesota street

Turns up the volume, spikes the heat.

A time to march, a time to seethe:

Black Lives Matter and “I can’t breathe.”

“We want justice,” says Eric Reid,

Brought with all deliberate speed.

“Enough,” says Jordan, on new ground,

“Pained … plain angry” and now unbound.

Lisa Leslie’s online decree:

If not “outraged,” don’t follow me.

Osaka is, no need to ask.

Come the Open, it's on her mask.

NASCAR moves to another lane,

Bans Dixie’s flag -- a blight, a stain.

Bubba Wallace, all strength and pride,

Has drivers walking by his side.

A reckoning, and none too soon --

Even Goodell changes his tune.

We need, he says, to listen, feel.

The players now are free to kneel.

Missing from this good intention?

Kaepernick’s name, not a mention.

What’s in a name? Here’s something new:

“Redskins” under “thorough review.”

Has Snyder found his moral core?

His sponsors simply said, No more.

New name? You gotta laugh or scream:

For now, “Washington Football Team.”

By year’s end, wanting to do right,

Cleveland Indians see the light.

The Startup

Part I

A kick, a smack, a well-placed knee --

Sports returns with the UFC.

Golf in Texas: Field is rested,

Fans are barred, swabbed players tested.

The Belmont’s empty, out of place

And Tiz the Law rules shortened race.

NBA joins Disney’s bubble,

Makes a wish to wall off trouble.

NHL restores some order,

Puts two hubs north of the border.

Baseball’s back and the sport retools:

Sixty-game season, beer league rules.

Cardboard fans (all gimmick and lark)

Don’t buy hot dogs, don’t pay to park.

Soon all goes wrong -- COVID’s winning,

Marlins pounded in first inning.

Cardinals, poof! Wide infection --

Vanished, gone, witness protection.

Jumbled schedule, ghastly mess.

Who plays where is anyone’s guess.

PGA? Morikawa ’s here.

Brooks Koepka can’t win every year.

Sports giveth; sports taketh away.

College football’s the price to pay,

The risks too daunting to confront --

Big Ten, Pac-12 decide to punt.

Weeks later, pressured, in a bind,

Both leagues reverse: Uh, never mind.

At Indy, Sato wins once more.

The silence drowns the engines’ roar.

The Struggle

Part II

Now Kenosha commands the stage --

Days of anguish and nights of rage.

The Bucks refuse to take the court --

A ripple then waves of support.

The NBA, of course, goes first.

Others follow as bubbles burst.

Floyd and Arbery; Taylor, Blake.

How much longer? What does it take?

Doc Rivers asks, on being Black:

Why won’t my country love me back?

The Startup

Part II

Sports pauses with a mournful heart:

Brock, Thompson, Seaver … days apart.

Baffert's Derby, Authentic scores,

With protests outside Churchill’s doors.

Blue Jays sing, “Oh, give me a home,”

Landing where the Buffalo roam.

So much sports now, to say the least:

April famine, September feast.

NFL season starts anew.

Players link arms, fans promptly boo.

Open tennis: Thiem ’s startling show;

Golf’s Open, likewise, DeChambeau.

Tour de France, Slovenia’s day.

Stanley Cup bubble, Tampa Bay.

Defying odds, even reason,

Baseball makes it through its season,

Leaving summer and into fall --

Bob Gibson ’s time, October ball.

Patriots-Chiefs, virus attack --

Cam Newton can’t avoid this sack.

Whole teams are benched, blow after blow.

Tennessee Titans? Where’d they go?

A Preakness filly makes some noise --

Swiss Skydiver outruns the boys.

WNBA stands tall.

Seattle Storm can play some ball.

Iga Swiatek? What’d you say?

Just like Nadal she wins on clay.

LeBron, Lakers, own Disney’s gym,

Sense Kobe’s there, above the rim.

The Dodgers, Kershaw expiate

The ghosts of 1988

As baseball puts its year to rest

With Justin Turner ’s COVID test.

The White Sox bring La Russa back

(Their deal fell through for Connie Mack).

Chase Elliott takes NASCAR’s jewel,

Family bloodlines filled with fuel.

The Marlins smash that old boys’ gang.

Glass ceilings shatter with Kim Ng.

Dustin Johnson outplays them all --

Green jacket just the style for fall.

Both lightning and the lightning rod,

Maradona, the Hand of God.

College basketball’s set to play --

Mangled schedules, disarray.

Steelers rolling but, yes, there’s flaw.

Niners banished by county law.

Across the week more games are strewn,

Even on Wednesday afternoon.

Through it all, a truth emerges:

Games go on while COVID surges

And records fall, that much is clear --

Consider Tara VanDerveer.

Now set, the college playoff queue:

Tide-Irish, Clemson-OSU.

Then look who’s back? The NBA.

Seems you were here the other day.

But who can tell? It’s all a blur:

The games they played, the way we were.

The Summation

Let’s see this out, get to the end,

And who knows what’s around the bend?

But we’ll toast, of course, don’t think twice --

Take a deep breath and roll the dice.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP Online Football, AP Online Basketball, AP Online Hockey, AP Online Auto Racing, AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, College Sports, AP Sports - Major League Baseball, AP Sports - NFL, NASCAR
© Copyright 2021
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Mexico starts giving first shots of Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine
An intensive care nurse in Mexico City has become the first person in Latin America _ to receive an approved coronavirus vaccine
11:14AM ( 33 minutes ago )
Republicans block $2,000 virus checks despite Trump demand
House Republicans have shot down a Democratic bid  to pass President Donald Trump’s longshot, end-of-session demand for $2,000 direct payments to most Americans
11:12AM ( 36 minutes ago )
STORY REMOVED: US--Election 2020-Senate-Georgia
Please disregard US--Election 2020-Senate-Georgia, published on December 24, 2020, and datelined in ATLANTA
11:09AM ( 38 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Booker, Bridges lead new-look Suns past Mavericks 106-102
Devin Booker scored 22 points, Mikal Bridges added 18 and the Phoenix Suns beat the Dallas Mavericks 106-102 in the season opener for both teams
1:38AM ( 10 hours ago )
White, Memphis top Florida Atlantic 25-10 in Montgomery Bowl
Brady White passed for 284 yards and three touchdowns to lead Memphis to a 25-10 victory over Florida Atlantic in the Montgomery Bowl
11:43PM ( 12 hours ago )
Tatum hits big 3 to help Celtics beat Giannis, Bucks 122-121
Jayson Tatum banked in a fallaway, go-ahead 3-pointer in the final second, and Giannis Antetokounmpo missed the potential tying free throw with 0.4 seconds left, allowing the Boston Celtics to escape with a 122-121 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in the teams’ season opener
11:08PM ( 12 hours ago )
AP Sports
La Russa resolves DUI case, feels 'deep remorse and regret'
Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa says he doesn’t have a drinking problem
5:48PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Exclusive: MLB payrolls drop nearly $2.5B in pandemic
Major League Baseball payrolls plunged to $1.75 billion during the pandemic-shortened season from $4.22 billion, and the World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers led with $98.6 million — the smallest for the top spender in 20 years
8:00PM ( 4 days ago )
NHL, players reach tentative deal for 56-game season
The National Hockey League and players have reached a tentative deal to hold a 56-game season in 2021
9:15PM ( 5 days ago )
AP Online Baseball
Arizona hires Patriots assistant Fisch as head coach
Arizona has hired New England Patriots assistant Jedd Fisch as its head football coach
4:37PM ( 19 hours ago )
Morris says his interview for Falcons job already under way
Falcons interim coach Raheem Morris says it means a lot that he will be interviewed after the season for the full-time job
3:44PM ( 20 hours ago )
AP All-SEC: No. 1 Alabama leads the way for top awards
No. 1 Alabama dominates the top AP Southeastern Conference awards
1:18PM ( 22 hours ago )
AP Online Football
Column: A tiny Bible college becomes the Washington Generals
Carver College has become college basketball’s equivalent of the Washington Generals
1:12PM ( 22 hours ago )
George scores 33, Clippers beat Lakers 116-109 on ring night
The Los Angeles Clippers rallied past the Los Angeles Lakers on the NBA champions’ ring ceremony night for a 116-109 victory
1:52AM ( 1 day ago )
George's 33 send Clippers past Lakers 116-109 on ring night
The Los Angeles Clippers rallied past the Los Angeles Lakers on the NBA champions’ ring ceremony night for a 116-109 victory
1:30AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Basketball
NHL teams begin to unveil advertisements on helmets
The New Jersey Devils, Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators became the first teams to unveil advertisements on players' helmets for the 2021 season
7:27PM ( 1 day ago )
Engelland latest NHL veteran retiring before 2021 season
Deryk Engelland is the latest NHL veteran to announce his retirement
3:06PM ( 1 day ago )
We The South: The Raptors settling into their Tampa home
The Tampa era of Toronto Raptors basketball formally opens when the NBA team plays host to the New Orleans Pelicans
1:26PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Hockey
F1 star Hamilton vows to fight to improve human rights
World champion Lewis Hamilton has vowed not to ignore pleas to improve human rights in Bahrain and other countries where Formula One hosts races
3:17PM ( 1 week ago )
The Latest: Michigan State-Virginia hoops postponed
Virginia’s ACC/B1G Challenge game against No. 4 Michigan State has been postponed due to COVID-19 issues within the Cavaliers’ program
12:06AM ( 2 weeks ago )
Magnussen to race American sports cars for Ganassi in 2021
Formula One driver Kevin Magnussen will move to the IMSA sports car series in 2021 driving for Chip Ganassi Racing
9:15AM ( 3 weeks ago )
AP Online Auto Racing
Florida's Johnson leaves hospital 10 days after collapse
Florida forward Keyontae Johnson is being released from the hospital Tuesday
1:36PM ( 1 day ago )
Florida, Mullen sanctioned for NCAA recruiting violations
The University of Florida has been given a year of probation by the NCAA
1:28PM ( 1 day ago )
AP All-Big Ten: Ohio State's Fields, Indiana's Allen honored
Quarterback Justin Fields repeated as offensive player of the year and is joined by three of his teammates on the Associated Press All-Big Ten football team
12:00PM ( 1 day ago )
College Sports
Omar Vizquel denies wife's allegations of domestic abuse
Longtime major league shortstop Omar Vizquel is denying accusations of domestic abuse made by his wife after she described two alleged acts of physical violence by the 11-time Gold Glove winner in a story published by The Athletic
10:03PM ( 1 week ago )
MLB tells managers to expect on-time spring training start
Big league managers say Major League Baseball instructed them to prepare for spring training to start on time in mid-February despite uncertainty around the coronavirus
7:39PM ( 1 week ago )
MLB reclassifies Negro Leagues as major league
Major League Baseball has reclassified the Negro Leagues as a major league and will count the statistics and records of its 3,400 players as part of its history
3:12PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Sports - Major League Baseball
Doug Pederson makes it clear he wants to stay in Philly
Doug Pederson led the Philadelphia Eagles to the franchise’s only Super Bowl title with a backup quarterback just three years ago and followed up with consecutive playoff appearances
1:07PM ( 1 day ago )
Browns closing in on ending lengthy playoff drought
The Cleveland Browns’ lengthy playoff drought is nearly over
12:50PM ( 1 day ago )
Haskins apologizes after photos show mask-less partying
Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins has publicly apologized after photo evidence came to light of him partying with several people unmasked after his game Sunday
11:45AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Sports - NFL
Live Fast Motorsports becomes 3rd new NASCAR team for 2021
Live Fast Motorsports has announced the formation of a NASCAR team
3:21PM ( 1 month ago )
Elliott drives from back of the field to first NASCAR title
NASCAR’s most popular driver is now a Cup champion
8:12PM ( 1 month ago )
Elliott too fast for Hamlin, Logano, Keselowski
Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski got a big head start on Chase Elliott
7:54PM ( 1 month ago )
Mexico starts giving first shots of Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine
An intensive care nurse in Mexico City has become the first person in Latin America _ to receive an approved coronavirus vaccine
11:14AM ( 33 minutes ago )
Republicans block $2,000 virus checks despite Trump demand
House Republicans have shot down a Democratic bid  to pass President Donald Trump’s longshot, end-of-session demand for $2,000 direct payments to most Americans
11:12AM ( 36 minutes ago )
STORY REMOVED: US--Election 2020-Senate-Georgia
Please disregard US--Election 2020-Senate-Georgia, published on December 24, 2020, and datelined in ATLANTA
11:09AM ( 38 minutes ago )
Breakthrough: UK and EU reach post-Brexit trade agreement
Britain and the European Union have struck a provisional free-trade agreement that should avert New Year’s chaos for cross-border commerce and bring a measure of certainty to businesses after years of Brexit turmoil
10:57AM ( 51 minutes ago )
Truckers finally leave UK after days of virus gridlock
Truckers and travelers who have been stuck for days in a huge gridlock at the English port of Dover finally got to leave for France
10:55AM ( 53 minutes ago )