In March of this year, the world came to a halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic. People were forced to work from home, schools became virtual, grocery stores sold-out of cleaning supplies and toilet paper (yeah, that one still doesn't make sense to me either), and the sports world came to a hard stop. I was at school and had just made Nationals for my school's club swim team, already beginning my training for our trip to North Carolina, when everything got serious.
In the blink of an eye, my university was closed for what was supposed to be two weeks but turned into the rest of the semester - Nationals was cancelled, theme parks closed, and I started to get disappointing notifications about the NHL.
The NHL suspended the season shortly after the NBA had made the decision to cancel March Madness. All NCAA sports, for the rest of the semester, were cancelled, and the MLB postponed opening day. Later in the coming weeks, the Summer Olympics would be moved to next summer. And as all of the sports world came to a stop, I watched the cancellation notifications come in for the postponed regular season NHL games that I had been excited to watch.
Growing up, I was always surrounded by sports. I grew up an athlete, spending my days on the soccer field or on the pool deck, just to come home and watch more sports.
I went to three hockey games in the week of my spring break and watched so many more on TV. Hockey has always been my favorite sport to watch since I'm originally from up north. So, watching those notifications come in on my phone broke my heart, almost as much as the fact that for the unforeseeable future I wasn't going to be able to do one of the things I love most - swim.
The NHL finally announced the game plan for the rest of the season - they decided to head straight to playoffs, ending the regular season without giving teams who were ranked lower in the league a fighting chance to try and make it. The playoffs were also adjusted to include twenty-four teams instead of the usual sixteen.
Just as this happened, I was told that I could go back to swimming. After a few months of everything seeming to just get worse, there was a light at the end of a tunnel and that light was sports. I never realized how much I loved sports and that it was one of the things that meant the most to me.
The impact sports has had on my life truly didn't reveal itself until it was taken from me.