Coronavirus, COVID-19, whichever you want to call it, is real. If you didn't get the wake up call before, you most certainly did Wednesday night, March 11, 2020. As Wizard Kelly says on the Proud Family, "it all started with an orange basketball." First the OKC Thunder and Utah Jazz game was postponed, then the NBA suspended operations a day before they were going to announce plans to play games without fans because Jazz All-Star Center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus after joking about the virus at a press conference just days earlier (listen to the podcast for our opinions about that). What followed was most sports leagues following suit including the NCAA cancelling March Madness, effectively ending college basketball season. So now we're left with no sports to watch, for at least one month in the case of the NBA, as Commissioner Adam Silver stated on Thursday. Herein lies the question, how do we continue a sports podcast without sports? Before I continue, I would first like to acknowledge that I agree with the leagues ceasing operations due to the seriousness of this virus. I can't say I took it as serious beforehand either, and still somewhat feel the outbreak is an overreaction to some extent, but I recognize the threat that it is bringing and the measures that have to be taken to prevent it from becoming worse. But back to the question, I have 5 points to make regarding how we will continue to move forward with the podcast without sports:
1. Continue to record
This is fairly simple but not exactly due to the outbreak. What I mean by this is that the country as a whole is bringing to light that staying home is the best bet for preventing the spread of the virus. Seeing as it is 5 of us on the podcast, 6 with a guest, and we meet at a remote location, we have to consider the fact that we may not be able to meet in person. The solution to that is simple, meet virtually. We have met virtually before to record a couple of our episodes and that option is definitely on the table if we feel or the city decides that lockdown would be the move to make to prevent the virus.
2. Keep it real
The title to our podcast is "Let's Be Real" for a reason. We need to continue to be transparent with our content and that includes our worldly view about the outbreak of the coronavirus in sports. We have a real talk segment that covers issues like this and we will continue to bring light and give our opinions on these kind of issues.
3. Be creative
Sounds simple but being that our episodes are based on current or recent events in the sports world, we have to be even more creative to continue to record without it. Continuing to make trivia games and rankings will help to offset this time period without sports for the near future.
4. Add frequent guests
Like I said before, we are a 5 person podcast referred to as the starting 5 and 6 with a guest, but so far in our almost 2 years of existence, we have had guests but not frequently for obvious reasons. We try to limit our recording time to no more than 1.5 hours and having 5 people is enough depending on how many topics we have. Adding a guest, includes having a Q and A segment for them followed by discussion of the topics. During this time of shortage, guests can fill time we would usually have for discussion of topics with a lessened load on the topics. Don't get it twisted, we will still allow guests when sports are back in full force, but just not as frequent as we will be able to at this time period. Also, targeted or referred guest availability will probably be freer at this time for both parties to agree to record, rather virtually or in person.
5. Be an example
Our next episode will be our 73rd and despite the success and fun we have had in our near 2 years, it can be a little overwhelming to get to the success we want. This could be the time to fold and say "well let's wait until sports are back on" but guess what? We don't know when that will be the case. It could be months before we have anything back on our TV cheering our favorite teams on. That's why we have to set the example of being innovative and coming up with solutions to keep this rolling despite the hand that is being dealt.
To conclude, the coronavirus is a serious issue but at the end of the day we have to live our lives and enjoy every moment rather good or bad. Be cognizant of the threat while also remembering that it is more than likely to blow away soon. We have to be prepared for all avenues but in the end, continue to be great and prosper the best way you can and if you come into contact with the virus to not panic and stand firm to take all action needed to heal. The sports world made the correct decision and I believe that we are also in continuing to give the audience content that has been consistent for almost 2 years.
-Parish Sharkey, Host
"Consistency is Key"