COLUMBUS — There is a dizzying fatigue that sets in around mid-March on the Ohio State beat.
It’s the greatest feeling in the world.
For just about anybody who made covering sports their professional mission in life, this is a month that has always had a sacred place in their hearts. And for those of us who cover the Buckeyes specifically, the combination of the perfect postseason format for basketball and the return of spring football makes for long hours — but some of the most gratifying of the whole year.
So, what the hell is going to replace that feeling? And what exactly is Lettermen Row going to do with the whole sports world currently shut down amidst the growing concerns over the coronavirus?
A) Nothing can replace those emotions that only sports can provide. Certainly it’s well understood here that the NCAA has taken the proper preventative steps, and anything that can be done to stop the spread of COVID-19 must be done. Health and safety has to be the priority, but that still leaves a big hole in the daily lives for many of us.
B) So, without March Madness or the buildup to a spring game, the frustration, uncertainty and heartbreak are all fair to acknowledge as well. But Lettermen Row covers Ohio State sports, and that’s what we are going to keep trying our best to do every day.
This is uncharted territory with a complete shutdown, although there is an offseason every year that must be navigated. Ideally it wouldn’t have happened six weeks early, but hopefully our experience allows us to stretch out and fill the void until the worldwide threat dissipates and a sense of normalcy returns.
If there are more developments with coronavirus that directly impact Ohio State sports, obviously that would be covered here. But we also believe our audience might appreciate the distraction from coronavirus over the coming weeks, so Lettermen Row is going to do everything it can to provide our normal programming and start looking forward to training camp and another potential run for Ohio State to the College Football Playoff.
This is an unprecedented situation for everybody, and we want to be sensitive to that fact. We’re also sports journalists, and this is our livelihood — we can’t simply turn off the lights for the next few weeks. We also don’t want to. For the It’s Just a Game crowd, maybe this approach won’t make sense. But covering Ohio State is our job, and we’re going to do it.
Obviously we’ll have to get a little creative, and we welcome the challenge. Hopefully our loyal audience can help guide that with feedback and more suggestions for Question of the Day and recruiting topics for Birm. Beyond that, we’ll continue to have former Buckeyes in the film lab to break down the game. As long as it’s safe to do so, we’ll take the Lettermen Live show on the road to Roosters and provide video analysis with our friends from Byers Auto. If Ohio State opens up any access to the program, we’ll be there. If there are more stories to tell in the weeks ahead, we’ll track them down.
All of this is new and confusing, and we don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. At least from that respect, though, it still feels like March.
Stay safe, and let’s get through this together.