50 things to do until sports come back


It’s March 14 and sports have stopped. The NBA and NHL seasons are suspended. March Madness is canceled. So are the College World Series and other collegiate spring sports championships.

As we grapple with how to respond to Coronavirus, large gatherings of practically all types have been postponed or canceled. Schools are out or are making plans to shut down temporarily in many states. Many businesses are asking employees to work from home. As we seek to slow the spread of the virus and avoid overwhelming our healthcare systems, we are learning that social distancing isn’t just for middle school.

Is it all really necessary? I cannot claim to know, but I trust what our medical professionals are telling us. And I do know this: Professional sports leagues like the NBA and NHL would not just shut down and forfeit millions of dollars in revenue due to “hysteria” or a desire to gain a few public relations points. And here’s the crazy thing about social distancing: If it works, it’ll look like we overreacted.

But what the heck do we do now? We are being asked to stay at home for the next few weeks and one thing we might have done with that free time — watch sports — is not available. The cynic might say: Reconnect with your family. But that would be ignoring our great capacity for multi-tasking and assuming that we were disconnected in the first place. And who said the rest of the family didn’t like sports, too?

Personally, my TV sports consumption dips sharply after football season and doesn’t rise again until March Madness and the NBA and NHL playoffs. So its absence hasn’t really hit me yet.

But I’m sure it will. The check is in the mail.

So we’d better find some other things to do while we’re all social distancing and self-quarantining with no sports on TV. Netflix and chill if you’re so fortunate, or just Netflix — I bet there’s plenty there that you haven’t seen. I hear Ozark is good.

Add Netflix to Purell and Charmin as stocks it would have been very wise to have bought into two weeks ago.

If you’re looking for other things to do while stuck in your house for the next couple weeks, however, here’s a list of 50 possibilities. Not all will apply to you — some may apply only to me — but perhaps one of these suggestions will help you bide the time until the courts and ice and ballparks are deemed safe to open again.

  1. Sleep.
  2. Read War and Peace or that Kierkegaard anthology you promised yourself you’d soldier through.
  3. Give up on both and read Stephen King or Neil Gaiman instead.
  4. Learn how to smoke a brisket.
  5. Clean out your liquor cabinet (and not into the trash).
  6. Binge all five seasons of Breaking Bad. Again.
  7. Re-learn how to play the piano. Or at least Ode to Joy.
  8. Watch the 2013 Iron Bowl again in its entirety.
  9. Brave the Coronavirus-infested mall to buy a new TV after you threw a brick through yours (Bama fans only).
  10. Brave the Coronavirus-infested Walmart in search of toilet paper after you draped yours all over your living room (Auburn fans only).
  11. Convince daughter to teach you how to play trombone.
  12. Convince daughter to play “25 or 6 to 4” on trombone instead while you play the guitar part.
  13. Wash your hands. Just because.
  14. Watch the 2018 NFC Championship Game again in its entirety.
  15. Brave the Coronavirus-infested mall to buy a new TV and the Coronavirus-infested Lowe’s to buy a new window.
  16. Destroy daughter in air hockey.
  17. Let daughter destroy you in air hockey after feeling guilty about the first game.
  18. Read the 45 books you’ve picked out of free libraries but haven’t read yet.
  19. Get rid of that stupid ground-cover weed that’s taking over your backyard.
  20. Search for kitchen fire extinguisher to put out fire you started in backyard.
  21. Clear up your social media timelines. Refresh your memory as to who some of these people are that you’re following.
  22. Take a virtual tour of a museum. No, really.
  23. Listen to all the podcasts you’ve been told you should hear but haven’t.
  24. Have a wine and cheese night with the wife. You won’t lose your man card, promise.
  25. Watch re-runs of an old show you haven’t seen since you were a kid. (Hogan’s Heroes, anyone?)
  26. Grill up some Conecuh sausage. Just because.
  27. Expand your grasp of German beyond “Guten tag” and “Ein bier, bitte.”
  28. Run cold water over your face after you try one of the new German phrases you learned on the wife.
  29. Clean out your closets and toss all those button-downs you haven’t worn in 15 years in a bag for Goodwill.
  30. Try a new recipe.
  31. Toss the burnt remains, along with the pan, in the trash and eat all the Ramen you caught during Mardi Gras.
  32. Toss the ball with the dog.
  33. Traipse through the bushes looking for the ball after the dog refuses to chase it a second time.
  34. Watch one of your wife’s favorite TV shows with her.
  35. Be reminded why you never watch your wife’s favorite TV shows with her. It’s just dusty in here. That’s all. Really.
  36. Teach yourself what TikTok is and learn how you can use it to mortify your children.
  37. Plan a vacation that you’ll never take.
  38. Put together a jigsaw puzzle with your kids.
  39. Scream at the ceiling and traumatize your kids after you spend four hours putting a jigsaw puzzle together only to find there are four pieces missing.
  40. Finally put all those bags of Mardi Gras beads in the attic.
  41. Pull down some old college photos from the attic and explain to the kids who Mad Dog McCarty was and why he’s trying to drink something while standing on his head.
  42. Think better of it and leave all those photos in the attic. Wrap the box with packing tape.
  43. Text your mom and dad to make sure they’re OK.
  44. Have a family game night.
  45. Become reacquainted with the reasons you never have family game nights anymore, as the kids accuse each other of cheating and your spouse mockingly mops the floor with you.
  46. Trim the bushes into the shapes of Star Wars characters.
  47. Post something vaguely political on social media and argue with strangers for the next six hours.
  48. Finish writing that novel.
  49. Read back over that novel and wonder what kind of simple, naïve idiot you were when you started writing it 15 years ago.
  50. Give thanks that you have a strong immune system and a job that doesn’t make a couple weeks at home a financial disaster. We will get through this. But think of your neighbors. Think of those for whom infection might be catastrophic. Do what you can to avoid being a vector and don’t fret about the down time. Sports will be back soon enough.

Categories: Mystery Punch


1 reply

  1. Great article Mike. Trying to finish 19 this afternoon so I can 26 and 8 tonight!

    Liked by 1 person

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