Joe-Miller-Ballpark

McNeese State University's Joe Miller Ballpark. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

How's everybody doing?

We're all in a weird time right now with no sports and our normal way of life uprooted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. No one knows when we will all get back to normal either, whatever our new normal will be.

I've said it before, but one of the toughest things about this situation for me is not knowing when we will get back to seeing sporting events. It seems like we are much more likely to get sports with no fans initially, and nobody knows when fans will be allowed back into stadiums. That stinks, but there's no way any school could justify putting tens of thousands of people into a fairly confined space. I highly doubt any of the schools want to accept the legal liability simply because they wanted to have fans in the stands.

But I don't want to dwell on that too much. Instead, I want to reminisce on what we've missed in the last five or so weeks, what we will miss, and what I look forward to doing again when sports come back (hopefully in the fall, but who knows?).

I miss things like going to Joe Miller Ballpark, finding a parking spot (not too close to the outfield wall though, don't want any home run balls to damage my windshield) and walking into the press box. I miss setting up my Wi-Fi (sidenote: McNeese made the guest Wi-Fi a little more repetitive to get into than last year) and seeing someone from the Chuckwagon Club walking up the steps to the press box with two boxes of delicious and great-smelling chicken, pork, sausage and fish.

I miss the press box banter, and the fans right below us who play the bingo game and get "Bingo" within an inning or so (having seen those bingo cards, whoever made them needs to up the difficulty next season).

I miss getting on the road and going to different stadiums that I might go to once a year, if that, to see McNeese play either a midweek game or a road conference series. You know I miss figuring out where to eat in those cities. If it's an overnight trip, I miss finding a place to grab an adult beverage, wind down from covering a game earlier that day or night, and thinking about what the next day will hold.

For softball, I miss the pregame music and jamming out. I miss seeing the team clap to "Joli Blon," whether they won or lost, with the enthusiasm obviously upped after a win, which happened a lot in the 2019 season. For all of the sports, I miss interviewing players after they had big performances that contributed to wins.

Looking ahead, it will be disappointing not to go to Hammond for the Southland Conference Softball Tournament, and Corpus Christi, Texas, for the baseball tournament. I've never been to Corpus Christ before, so it would have been nice to meet media friends, cover some baseball and hang out on the beach afterwards.

The baseball team was also going to play at the University of Texas late in the regular season, and Austin is one of my favorite cities, so I definitely will miss not going there for that game.

I think the softball team had a great chance to win the regular season and conference tournaments, and the baseball team wasn't playing its best when the season was canceled, but it was the same situation last season and they turned it around to win the SLC Tournament.

I will miss the opportunity to even think about booking a hotel and flight for an NCAA Tournament regional. The excited faces on the team and everybody in the athletic department and the anticipation when the selection show starts; the explosion of cheers when that school pops up.

There's a lot we will all miss from this school year, both athletically and academically. But I do believe that this will serve as a reminder to cherish any and everything you can do when our privileges are restored.

I don't know if there will be an SLC Football Media Day, but I look forward to making the drive and mingling with my media buddies, the coaches and players, as well as everybody else attending. I'm already anticipating game day and the excitement of getting in my car and driving to the stadium. I'm ready for the rush of getting my stories in on deadline.

I really am looking forward to the first game of the season, because I know that there is no love lost between McNeese and Louisiana-Lafayette fans.

There's so much more I'm looking forward to, I could write for days about it. But I'll leave it here. Nobody knows when we'll restart society, but I'll tell you what, I couldn't be more excited for when it does.

In the meantime, I'm going to keep washing my hands and reading books.

I might even get a dog.

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David Berry covers McNeese State athletics. Email him at dberry@americanpress.com

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