As Paulie Mac’s sound board might say: “Hey, hey . . . how we doin’ out there?”
True to Paulie Mac, that sound is from Mick Jagger at Altamont in 1969. But also true to the sound board, it is full of eternal relevance.
How we doin’ out there?
I wrote to you guys a week ago, as we embarked on a world where the NBA and MLB were suspended and there would be a March without Madness. Since then, we’ve lost the regularly scheduled Masters and Kentucky Derby, Harding Park’s PGA Championship (!), English Premier League soccer, and Little League nationwide has been suspended.
Now, when a virus robs us of the chance to passively blow off parents complaining about their kid’s playing time, robs us of the chance to passively aggressively intimidate kid umpires, and robs us of the chance to overtly aggressively want to beat the pants off a rival coach on a Little League diamond — well, then, we are a nation in crisis.
We’d be in more of a crisis if not for the most indestructible force on Earth — the NFL.
If COVID-19 tried to infiltrate the NFL’s immune system, COVID-19 better pack a lunch.
In the midst of our sports-free world, the NFL delivered haymakers 1985 Mike Tyson would be proud of.
Tom Brady to Tampa Bay.
DeForest Buckner to Indianapolis.
Phil Rivers to Indianapolis.
Ben Garland, re-upped for another season.
Just seeing if you were paying attention with that last one. But shout out to Garland. You can never have enough Air Force Falcons on the 49ers OL, in my humble opinion.
So the NFL saved us. They gave us a week’s worth, and maybe more, of content. So when the question goes out: “How you doin’ out there?” The answer is: Feeling very NFL-ish, that’s how I’m doing.
Some thought it tone deaf that the NFL did its business during a global pandemic. I found it to be a miracle of the human spirit that we could turn grim thoughts of human anxiety into visualizations of TB12 in Creamsicle orange.
The moral of the story has been, and always will be: We take this thing day by day. And by that, I mean the NFL headlines. And by that, I mean the global pandemic. And by that, I mean life in general.
The Buddhists have been trying to tell us this for centuries. Be Zen. Be in the now. Even Chevy Chase urged us in “Caddyshack” to “Be the ball.”
So what will we do for sports now that the NFL dust is settling? I can’t promise you anything. I can tell you that the Murphy family has screened “Rocky” (“Daddy, why doesn’t Rocky defend his face when Apollo punches?”) and “Space Jam” (“Daddy, who’s the really short guy?” “Muggsy Bogues, kid.”) and Game 4 of the 1975 NBA Finals (“Daddy, where’s the 3-point line?”). We are educating ourselves to sports and film history. We are taking it day by day, even if day by day means sometimes stir-crazy kids breaking lamps in the living room while playing catch.
The coming week may be different. The distant strains of CBS’ “March Madness” theme fade into the background. You turn on the radio this weekend, longing for the languid sounds of Scottsdale baseball with Jon and Duane and Mike and Dave. They won’t be live. A week from today, the Giants were supposed to open at the Dodgers.
None of it is happening. But to quote another Paulie Mac favorite, the Bay Area’s own Grateful Dead: “We will survive. We will get by.”