Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the wheels falling off in North America. Despite the former president insisting that everything was fine and this would all go away, WHO declared that we were now in a global pandemic. The NBA pulled the plug on their season and they were soon followed by the MLB, NHL, and NCAA. For sports fans it was a dark realization that even their favorite games were caught up in the wave. Schools and colleges started closing entirely. Many began to work from home or just lost their jobs. And we all hoarded toilet paper.
Yesterday Carjo and I got round one of the Pfizer vaccine. The vaccinations were given by the Upper Missouri District Health Unit in a aircraft hanger at the old airport in Williston ND. We will get the second round in three weeks, on April 1st. So yes, we got our first dose on the anniversary of the US crashing and we’ll get our second on April Fools Day. Sometimes synchronicity and irony hold hands and sing.
We are both immensely relieved and grateful to get these doses. Even hermits like us get tired of living like hermits. I’d like to stand on the rim of the Painted Canyon at TR Nat’l Park and not have to worry if some yahoo is standing too close to me. I’d like to go through the grocery store and not be concerned by all the slack-jawed inbred wastes of tissue that go through the aisles unmasked and unaware. I’d like to not worry.
This weekend is the second of three state basketball tournaments. These were cancelled last year. They’re a kinda big ass deal here in this state. As I have noted before, North Dakotans watch the movie Hoosiers and think, “those folks in Indiana don’t quite take their high school basketball serious enough.” This weekend is the Class A state tournaments for girls and boys. That’s the big schools in what qualifies as big cities in this state. It’s an entertaining show, they leave it all on the floor. But next weekend is the truly insane tournament, the boys Class B.
Class B is the schools from small towns. It’s a madhouse. The number one seed can get pantsed in the first round to the number eight. A town so small they barely qualify to have a zip code can get in and make a run on sheer adrenaline. As competitive as the A tournament is, there is an intensity to the B tourney that is impossible to match. The girls B tourney, which happened last weekend, saw a couple teams shooting over 70% on three point shots with most of them raining in from outside the line for college players. Fans were losing their minds. In recent years, parochial schools and private schools have invaded the Class B, keeping their enrollment numbers just below the threshold of Class A. Those schools got PUMMELED in Class A. But more often than not, those private schools who make it in the run into a wall. It could be a co-op of a couple small towns, or one of the towns near Grand Forks or Fargo that pick up players who think they have a better chance in a small school. A couple years ago a private school ran an almost perfect season right up into the championship game, where they were disemboweled by a team that was from one of the Native American reservations. That was particularly satisfying.
So we’ll be watching this weekend and the next. You never know what can happen and it has all the passion (and none of the issues) of college sports. Sports are happening again. The world has not gone back to normal but the balance is returning in some ways. Baseball is in spring training and my Twins are loaded for Yankee-hunting. We’re not back where we started but I’ll stand at the rim of the Painted Canyon and celebrate it.