At Knight Eady, we believe in sports. You’ve heard us say it countless times. In our office, on our website, on our t-shirts and pretty much anywhere we can type it you will find it. This statement is more than a company motto. It encompasses what we do and why we come to work every day (or connect remotely these days).
We believe in sports because they are a pretty powerful thing in this world. Sports give us something to cheer for and they often become a part of our identity. They bring together millions of people from all walks of life. At every level, from little league to the pros, sports are the foundation of communities. We believe in sports because they allow us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
But, as the old adage goes, “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.” It’s easy to get caught up in the bright lights, the cheering crowd, the buzzer-beaters and the championships. At Knight Eady, our careers revolve around sports, many of us played sports growing up and we are lifelong fans of many teams, so it became easy for some of those privileges to feel as though they were part of normal life. Spoiler alert, they aren’t so normal when life as we know it isn’t normal.
On Thursday, March 12, 2020, the sports world came to a screeching halt. The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, was spreading across the world with public officials urging everyone to limit the number of group gatherings, practice social distancing and take the necessary precautions to flatten the curve. The situation was changing, and continues to change, by the minute (According to the World Health Organization, 330,000+ worldwide cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, and 14,500+ people have died as of my writing this on Monday afternoon, March 23). Only the day before, the NCAA had announced the attendance for the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments would be limited to “essential staff” and family members, and 24 hours later the tournament was canceled. The NBA was the first to make a major call that Wednesday night by suspending the 2019-20 season “until further notice.” By lunchtime Thursday, the snowball effect was engaged. Conference tournaments canceled mid-game. March Madness gone. NCAA winter and spring championships wiped off the calendar. XFL, WWE, Formula 1, MLB, PGA Tour and more all clearing their calendars in March, April and into May. The cancellations continued in the days to follow. The Masters Tournament, NASCAR, the Kentucky Derby, Boston Marathon and more have all been impacted in some way, further driving home the harsh reality that this was not going away anytime soon and no one, not even Kevin Durant, was immune to the impact of the virus. Even most recently, International Olympic Committee member Dick Pound told USA Today‘s Christine Brennan the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will be postponed and are likely going to take place in 2021. Yes, some events were moved or postponed, giving us something to look forward to come the fall, but it’s hard to imagine life continuing without sports.
So what do we do now? Get mad? It’s OK to be upset. Cry? Yes, we did a little of that too. These are scary, unprecedented and uncertain times. This is when we need sports the most. Something to bring us together, even when we can’t physically be together. But then we started to see the light in this darkness in a new way. Even while the sports industry is literally turned off, we can still find that magic that reminds us we have so much to be grateful for. In just one example, several NBA players began to step up and pledge to cover salaries of hourly workers amid the suspended season and many others followed. And while we may not have the financial security of an NBA player, we can still use this time to reflect on all that sports give us. It is a much-needed reminder of perspective and priorities. We can use the extra time that won’t be consumed watching March Madness to focus on ourselves and maybe become more like the people we want or hope to be. And ultimately, we hope that when all of this is over, we will never again take for granted all of the things, big and small, sports give us.
The freedom for fans to gather from all across the globe.
Looking up into the lights as the confetti drops.
Catching your reflection in the shimmer of the trophy.
The inspiration we feel when records are broken.
Or the sense of accomplishment from our own PR on a run.
How we felt during our coach’s pre-game speech.
Or a moment to catch your breath in a media timeout.
The sporting events that run flawlessly.
And the ones where we learned from the mistakes.
The slap of a high-five from a teammate.
A silent sunrise on the course before the gates open.
The rumble of the stadium as the crowd rises to their feet.
And a reminder of just how lucky we are.
But for now, we must be still. The sports world is quiet because this is not our show. It is our turn to rest and get out of the way while our healthcare professionals step onto the field. This is their fight, and we will cheer them on from the sidelines.
From all of us at Knight Eady, we say thank you to all of the healthcare professionals out there putting themselves in harm’s way to fight the good fight. You are the real MVP.
Hopefully, we, and the rest of the sports world, will be back on the court, field, course and TVs soon, but until then (and always) we are your biggest fans. We believe in sports and we believe in you.