There was so much to look forward to at the beginning of last week following the sweeps of Wyoming by both CSU Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams.
The women had continued their rise to the top of the MWC standings and had two games scheduled at Moby vs. New Mexico, a series that would go a long way toward determining the regular season title.
And the Men were scheduled to play at Moby as well vs New Mexico. A pair of wins would have vaulted the Rams even further up the table and possibly into first place depending on what the other teams around the league did.
My week had started poorly when one of our dogs (Wally, the 12-year old rescue) was diagnosed with a slow-growing tumor inside his skull. The effects had come quickly. A loss of muscle mass on the left side of his skull making it look like the trip of his head was crushed. Already blinded in the left eye because the tumor has affected the nerves. Limited control of the left side of his mouth making it hard to eat and drink.
If you know me, you know how much are dogs mean to us and they have been especially important partners during the pandemic. We are grateful that we have Wally for days, weeks, months, maybe even years and we will treasure him every day.
And then Tuesday rolled around.
CSU-UNM Men scheduled for a 9PM tip. A late game for a geezer like me that required a short nap after dinner.
I arrived at Moby to pass through the checkpoint for media at 8:30PM and was greeted by Terry Hemme, CSU Athletic Department employee who informed me that the game had just been postponed a couple of minutes prior due to COVID issues within the New Mexico program. It wasn’t definite at the time but Terry also stated that the second game of the pair was most likely postponed (which proved to be true).
The Women’s games on Friday and Saturday were still in play as of Friday morning. I filled out a COVID symptoms form on Friday morning that is required on the day of the game by all media attendees and did my usual stuff around the house that morning.
Then word came down late on Friday morning that both Women’s games had been postponed due to COVID issues within the New Mexico program.
Sometimes reality really bites!
You get fired up to cover some big games and the rug is pulled out in the final minutes.
And then you take a step back and realize that your own situation is nothing compared to what these athletes and coaches have to go through on a daily basis just to play the sport they love.
Practicing every day with a purpose. Conference championships and post-season goals in sight and certainly in play. Getting physically and mentally prepared to play winning basketball. Getting a swab shoved up their nose at least three times a week to produce test results. Living a Spartan lifestyle to even give themselves a chance to compete.
So in the end, my loss were minuscule compared to what the players and staff went through last week.
And now what will the future bring?
Games scheduled with Nevada this week (Men in Reno and Women in Moby) are both in jeopardy with positive COVID cases reported in both the Nevada programs postponing their games last week.
More uncertainty. More stress for all involved.
And yet the two teams go on with a remarkable focus on the prizes at stake. To date, they have given us remarkable seasons under extraordinary circumstances.
At a time when we have all gone through major changes in our lifestyle, they have given us a shot in the arm so to speak.
Not a vaccine to produce antibodies.
But one that produces joy that is good for the mental and emotional health.