The Day The World Stopped
It is very rare when you can get the majority of the world to all be thinking about or talking about the same thing.
Natural disasters, shocking deaths, once in a lifetime events come to mind when this type of thing occurs.
On March 11, 2020 it sure felt like the majority of the world had their mind on one topic, and that was Covid-19. In other countries they were already living it in real time. In the United States we had heard about it, but we were all smacked in the face with it on this day a year ago.
What is going on? How safe are we? How permanent is this? Are we just going to press pause for a week or two? Wait, Tom Hanks has it? Who, what, where, when and WHY?
Questions were being asked, answers were not there–How are we going to proceed with our daily lives?
My memories of that day are still very vivid.
The day began early that Wednesday morning with a live remote from Hohokam Park in Mesa Arizona. At that time I was on the morning show with Carmichael Dave and we were wrapping up our final day at A’s Spring Training.
Our trip there was a microcosm of how fast things were changing. On day one we had full clubhouse access. We were around the players, we were recording interviews and sharing stories.
The second day, MLB announced that clubhouses around Spring Training would not be allowing media inside anymore.
Day three was March 11th and Dave and I had just one guest and it was manager Bob Melvin who took the time to come up to our booth and do an interview with us. At that point we all didn’t realize that we were getting very close to a complete shutdown.
We flew home after the show and as soon as I landed, I made my way to the Golden 1 Center.
This was a very anticipated game. It was the Kings only national televised game of the season and the Kings were playing Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans. Sacramento was playing their best basketball and the talk of ending the playoff drought felt like a possibility.
After arriving at the arena word was spreading fast about how the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz game being postponed.
Nobody was quite certain what was going on but we had heard that Jazz center Rudy Gobert had tested positive. In real time things were moving fast. Tom Hanks says on Twitter that he and his wife had contracted Covid. Then the NBA makes an announcement that after tonight’s NBA action the league will pause all the action going forward.
There were other NBA games that had already started when this news was delivered. The only game left to start was the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans.
The players knew the league was stopping after that night, the coaches did, the fans did, the media did, so how do you play that game knowing the stoppage was coming? It turns out they didn’t play.
We had just wrapped up our pregame show on the radio and normally by that time all the players are on the floor and we would be just moments away from the introductions. On that night, the players weren’t on the floor. The referees weren’t on the floor either.
What is going on?
In radio sometimes silence can be golden but in this case our silence was connected to confusion. It didn’t take too long to put it together that the game was not going to occur but we had not been in that situation before. What does this mean? Is this pausing of the league/sports/and our world a temporary thing?
We left the broadcast and the arena without answers just more questions. One year later we have all been through so much. It deeply saddens me that we have had as many deaths as we have due to Covid-19.
We have had family and friends that have been impacted on this scale with lost loved ones and that is horrific. The stress that our medical communities have been through is staggering. With all that said we have also shown how amazing we can be as people. In a year’s time multiple vaccinations have been created and the administrating process of those has begun.
We aren’t back to what we were and that version of our world may never be the same but it does feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Tonight, I will be back at Golden 1 Center watching the Kings begin the second half of their season.
We will be in our broadcast location surrounded by plexiglass. The fans in the building will be a collection of cardboard cutouts. Social distancing by the small amount of staff that is in the arena will be on full display while we don our masks.
One year later the games go on but they do look different–and so does our world.
For me March 11, 2020 will be a day that we will never forget.