NESN Diary: Don’t Forget About Senior Student-Athletes Amid COVID-19 (And Other Random Thoughts)


Apr 20, 2020

Each day during the sports pause stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, will publish a diary full of random thoughts, opinions, takeaways and other cool tidbits we’ve stumbled across in the absence of actual games. Because why not? We’re all in this together.

Don’t forget about the senior student-athletes during the COVID-19 outbreak.

I was outside all day playing backyard hockey (and have a lobster-level sunburn to prove it). A field hockey stick, an ice hockey stick, a field hockey ball, a lacrosse ball, street hockey balls, a tennis ball, a whiffle ball, a battered plastic chair with a bucket sitting on top in the middle of a hockey net — all of which have seen better days — on a patch of pavement.

It’s not the same adrenaline rush as playing in a game. But futzing around in the backyard helped fill the void in a world without sports. It also made me think about what would’ve been — what should’ve been.

My athletic career came to a screeching halt my sophomore year of college when my scrappy playing style got me into one too many “wrong place at the wrong time” situations. The concussions added up.

When I stepped off the field for the last time, I didn’t realize it was my last time. I can’t help but feel for the class of 2020 athletes whose careers also were cut short, for no fault of their own, who stepped off the field for the last time without knowing it, too.

Sure, everyone misses pro sports. Believe me, I’d love to yell at my TV watching playoff hockey right now. But, pro sports will be back eventually.

That’s not the case for the senior athletes. Some may return with the extra year of NCAA eligibility, but not everyone can. Like me, they’ll always have that itch for what could’ve been — what should’ve been.

So, remember about all the athletes who have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. It’s not just the pros.

And to the class of 2020 athletes: It’s not fair. It’s hard. But no one and nothing (not even a pandemic) can stop you from picking up your stick and playing a little backyard hockey, or whatever your sport is. If you’re anything like me, it might be the only thing keeping you sane.

Or, maybe some sports news will help with that, too. So, here’s what went on in the sports world today:

More: Patriots Potential 2020 Draft Picks — Best Overall Fit At Every Position

–– April 20 marks Patriots’ Day and what would’ve been the Boston Marathon. The organization sent a thoughtful message to the essential workers, while the race has been postponed until Sept. 14.

In the meantime, you can relive how Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz helped rally the city together after the marathon bombings. It still gives me chills.

–– The New England Patriots revealed their new uniforms, but honestly, they don’t look new. They’re essentially the Patriots’ color rush uniforms with a few differences. Fans weren’t thrilled and seemed to ask the same question: where’s Pat the Patriot?

New England now is the only team in the NFL without TV numbers on their uniforms, though. So, I guess that’s something. Edelman loves them at least.

–– Speaking of new uniforms, former Red Sox favorite Mookie Betts initially wasn’t a fan of his Los Angeles Dodgers jersey. He thought the blue looked “weird.”

Us too, Mookie. Us too. Fortunately, his mom assured him that he looks good in blue. That’s what moms are for, right?

–– The 10-part Michael Jordan documentary series “The Last Dance” dropped Sunday night, and the first two episodes were packed with nostalgia. They also provided insight on what made the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls so interesting.

It recorded historic viewership numbers in Week 1. So, if you haven’t checked it out yet, you might as well get on board. It seems like it’s all the sports world will talk about for the next few weeks.

–– There’s hope for a return of football, as the Patriots began the “virtual period” of their offseason program today. New England was one of three teams, in addition to Buffalo and Indianapolis, that actually held virtual workouts, as opposed to classroom work.

No surprise Bill Belichick is maximizing training time.

–– We’re one day closer to the NFL Draft, which will be held virtually beginning Friday. Rest assured, though, it won’t be without an important tradition: booing NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Doing so can even help fight COVID-19, so there’s really no excuse (as if you needed one).

–– The Boston Bruins are going to get the 2011 team back together for a “Locker Room Time Machine” for NESN’s replay of the Game 7 Cup Final win. The B’s will live stream from the team’s YouTube page during the broadcast, which will be Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. ET on NESN.

That’s something to look forward to.

–– Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown and Tacko Fall had a day on Instagram Live. Fall fired a playful shot at Enes Kanter, who was quick to fire one back. It’s no secret Kanter can be a lot sometimes, but we love him anyway.

Then, the two got serious talking about Banner 18. According to Brown, it’s “in the works” — sounds promising, right?

Video of the Day:
Brown definitely won the dance contest by default, because we could actually see his legs. But to be fair, I don’t know the struggle of trying to aim a phone to capture a 7-foot-5 body in the frame.

Full disclosure, as someone who’s done the Toosie Slide, I can confirm neither of them actually did it correctly. But, it was a good attempt.

Stat of the Day:
Not the side of the stat you hope to be on. But it’s Michael Jordan, so that makes it OK, right?

Tweet of the Day:
We love you, Milan Lucic.

More Bruins: Chris Wagner Gets Chirped After Trying To Score Points With Cam Neely

Thumbnail photo via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports Images
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