It’s like we’re living in a movie. Everyone and everything is focused on one thing: COVID-19.

That seems to be the only topic of discussion. That seems to be on everybody’s mind.

It’s a global pandemic and it’s a global phenomenon.

It has canceled or postponed pretty much everything from concerts, movie premiers and even sporting events at all levels.

For sports reporters, soon it will be a challenge to do our job. We’ll be working endlessly to try and make ends meet. Without sports, what do we cover?

For the first few weeks, we’ll be covering the news of the coronavirus and how it affects the sporting world. But how long will that last? A week or maybe two, at the most.

We’ll find things to do, like reporting on who made the all-conference and all-state teams from the winter season. We try to reach out to local players, coaches and athletic directors to find out how they’re staying busy or what the latest on the situation is.

That’s the beauty about being in the news industry. There’s always something to do.

However, there’s nothing like covering a game or sporting event. That’s why some of us got into sports reporting. It’s what we’re geared to do.

We take photos, we take notes, we interview coaches and players and we tell the story of the game.

That’s what we’re missing the most. That’s what makes this time so difficult.

Most sports reporters either played sports growing up or they were fascinated by them. Not because of what took place outside of the game, but because of the game itself.

It’s a love for the game, and frankly, I’m missing it.

This past weekend was supposed to be the high school basketball state championship. For us in Sweetwater County, we had three teams in Casper ready to compete for a state title in both Green River teams and the Rock Springs girls team.

All of them were playing their best basketball at the right time. And in sports, sometimes that’s all it takes to make a championship run. But we were stripped of that because of this outbreak.

This week, the Western Wyoming Community College men’s basketball team was scheduled to play for the national title in Hutchinson, Kansas. I watched and covered them as they rolled through the National Junior College Athletic Association Region IX tournament, winning each game by double digits.

There was a belief within the team that felt they could become the best in all the land. After watching them and covering them almost exclusively, I was also starting to believe they could do it.

The NJCAA postponed the tournament and then eventually canceled it earlier this week.

My heart goes out to the players, coaches and fans of all the teams.

Sports provide the ultimate roller coaster of emotions. You cheer in victory, you cry in defeat and you persevere through overcoming adversity.

All those emotions can happen in a span of a single game too and that’s what makes the game beautiful.

I love telling stories. I love telling sports stories.

What we’re doing now isn’t that. We’re reporting on games being canceled or seasons being suspended, and it sucks, if I’m going to be completely honest with you.

And it’s not like we enjoy having the extra free time either because there’s no sports going on around the world – except for bowling. I saw on TV the other day.

The NBA and NHL suspended their regular seasons. The NCAA canceled March Madness. The XFL canceled its inaugural season. The MLB postponed the start of its regular season and canceled spring training. I mean, there’s literally nothing.

It’s not just coaches or players that share a love for the game.

Sports reporters love the game too. It’s why we do what we do.

So, please, let’s bound together and stop the spread of this COVID-19. Wash your hands regularly, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and if you’re sick or have a cold, take a sick day and stay home.

You know, practice basic hygiene.

And when you go to the store to “panic buy” food, soap and toilet paper, be considerate of others.

You don’t need 60 rolls of toilet paper. You don’t need to load three carts of food to get you through this. Grab what you need and be mindful of the next person who probably needs the same supplies.

We’re in this thing together and if we can come together, we can get through it.

Let’s get back to normalcy as quick as possible. We might not be able to find the vaccine, but we all have a part to do.

I was in Houston during Hurricane Harvey, which was a Category 5 and created a 500-year flood in the fourth largest city in the country. It wiped out hundreds of homes and compromised hundreds of people’s lives for years to come.

If one city and one region can come together to get through that, we can come together and get through this.

So stay clean, don’t be mean and practice good hygiene.

Tyler Johnson is a sports reporter for the Rocket Miner. Follow him on Twitter @iamtylerjohnson and contact him via email at tjohnson@rocketminer.com.

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