Scooter Hobbs updated

Can't get ahead of ourselves, of course.

So keep masking up, along with social distancing, and by all means get vaccinated.

But there's at least encouraging rumors that maybe there's an Old Normal lurking out there for us all in the foreseeable future.

Even by the most pessimistic accounts, it's now out there on the horizon, almost coming into focus.

The New Normal has just about run its course, and not a moment too soon.

New Normal in society is about as popular as New Math in the school house.

But it would appear the day is coming when maybe, just maybe, we'll wake up one morning with our bearings clear as to what sports season it is, perhaps even pinpointed to what day of the week it is again.

That would be a start for welcoming back Old Normal with (socially distanced) open arms.

Some of us set our clocks by these things, and our lives get all out of whack at the slightest upheaval in the normal routine.

For a year now it's like every day is either the start or the end of Daylight Saving Time and it's noon or later before you know whether to spring forward or fall back and just jump back in bed.

Groundhog Day fit for a pandemic, with nothing but generic 24-hour periods not fit to be named Monday, Wednesday or even Friday.

In this fog, every day you feel like you ought to be remembering what electronic doohickey on your dashboard changes the time on your car clock.

Warning: it may take some time to get your circadian clock calibrated again.

We've had a year of wandering aimlessly through the calendar, confused and sometimes even astonished to realize that's it's … what? Tuesday? Or maybe Thursday. Who knows?

The NCAA basketball tournament, I'm afraid, is not helping matters any.

Major League Baseball, by the way, didn't need a pandemic to send our heads spinning. For years now it has blurred the lines between the end of the exhibition season and the real deal to the point that Opening Day has lost a lot of its ceremonial bunting.

Even in the Old Normal you'd wake up one day, probably early April, and realize that the season has been on, with games counting, for a week now.

But elsewhere we're taking awkward steps trying to figure out schedules.

We saw The Masters golf tournament pop up unexpectedly last November ­­— and now there's yet another Masters set for two weeks hence in the traditional April hole, maybe with azaleas and pimento cheese this time.

That's the plan anyway.

But we know you can't have The Masters until — like clockwork — Jim Nantz gets through calling the NCAA basketball tournament on CBS so he can hightail it into the tower at Augusta National.

And it appears that may never happen.

The end of March Madness, that it is.

They seem intent on stretching it right through May Day or maybe the Fourth of July.

After a year away, it was indeed uplifting to fill out that office pool for something familiar, something that screamed March Madness.

Editor's note: Nobody cares, certainly not me, what Abilene Christian did to your office pool bracket.

But back to the real problem.

Everybody skipped work that first Thursday after the conference tournaments, settled back in the lounge chair, flipped on CBS and … crickets.

We still the got the annual phone calls into the sports office that first Thursday wondering what the devil TruTV was and where they might find it on cable or satellite for first-round games.

At least they had an extra 24 hours to track it down.

Somebody moved our cheese.

If it's Thursday, there's supposed to be games, hopefully some bracket busters.

Turns out they scheduled it that way. The first-round games were Friday-Saturday, second rounds Sunday and Monday.

Sounded like an unforced calendar-confusion error to me.

I actually made an investigative journalistic-type phone call to get to the bottom of that one.

I was told it was pandemic related, of course, like everything else.

They felt like they needed an extra day to keep 64 teams quarantined and properly tested. Never mind the whole tournament is in Indiana and most of the teams seemingly have been in Indianapolis since Valentine's Day.

If anything is done "out of an abundance of caution" these days you're not lawfully allowed to question it.

So, OK.

They did what they had to do, eventually meandered down to a Sweet 16 this week.

So, as you read this, Sunday I think it is, half of the Final Four should have been decided by now, with other two due in today.

But, noooo. They moved them back another day. Yet another day to quarantine, I guess, but wouldn't it also be an extra day to accidentally unquarantine?

So the whole natural progression is out of whack again. Friday-Monday, we hardly knew you.

It's a wonder Saturday's winners weren't cutting down nets thinking they'd already made the Final Four.

Not even close. New Normal Saturday is like Old Normal Thursday. Nobody starts "punching tickets" to Indianapolis (where the already are) until Monday.

Meanwhile, while waiting for Saturday's action to finally whittle into the Sweet 16, Nicholls State and Incarnate Word are playing … tackle football, with a scoreboard — Nicholls, 75-45, last I looked — suggesting more hoops.

March madness indeed.

l

Scooter Hobbs covers LSU

athletics. Email him at

shobbs@americanpress.com

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