Dillon Giancola: Coming to terms with a no-sports world


Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past week, you’re aware of the constant stream of event cancellations in and around Fort St. John.

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The cancellations have been most noticeable in the sports world, where almost everything, both professionally and locally, was either suspended or cancelled.

Entire NHL seasons have been lost before due to a player lockout, and local clubs have to cancel a tournament or event every once and a while due to weather or lack of participation. However, the sports world has never been impacted on this scale before, and that’s not an overstatement.

Most sports fans are aware of the role sports plays in their life — sports are reliable, are an outlet from everyday life, and are a valuable communal and physical activity. But when it gets taken away, regardless of the reason, it’s odd to realize how much we can take sports for granted.

I know I did. I never thought of it this way, but turning on the TV to catch whatever game happened to be on that night is as ingrained in me as having supper around 5 p.m. Without those events and games to anchor my days and weekends, life felt a little directionless.

I’ll adjust, of course. This isn’t me complaining about the precautions being taken to limit the spread of COVID-19, but it’s me commenting on how strange it’s felt to have a constant part of my life take a back-seat for a little while.

I can’t say for sure, but the loss of regular sports activity feels a tad more impactful in Fort St. John and Canada, since the threat-level of the virus isn’t as high here as it is in other places around the world. So, although we all know this is for the better, it’s hard not to wish that a few things were able to continue on as normal.

The Fort St. John Huskies only lost five games in the entire 2019-20 NWJHL season, yet they were robbed of the opportunity to win a third-straight championship.

This was the final year of junior for some of these players, and they won’t get this opportunity back. That goes for soccer players, minor league hockey teams, and those fighting in individual combat sports.

It’s not just the NBA and NHL that are being cancelled, nor is it just local hockey games and tournaments, but seemingly every sport’s governing body, no matter how popular or niche the sport, is cancelling its provincial and national tournaments.

Still, when one opportunity closes, others open up. We all have more room to read that book that’s been collecting dust, binge watch that new TV show, or call our parents a little more often.

Things will get back to normal soon enough, so a break from normal for the sake of our collective health isn’t the end of the world. But it is extremely weird.

The loss of sports won’t be quite as felt the coming weeks, at least not locally. All the winter sports were coming to a close this month anyway, with most summer and outdoor sports not getting things going until early May.

I can guarantee I’ll be out at the driving range hooking balls all over the place at the end of April, unless things take a turn for the worse and ranges don’t open.

I’m still not ready to go without any NHL, NBA, MLB, and tennis to watch for the next couple months. It hasn’t been that bad for the first week since there was so much going on in the world to distract us. But as we adjust and get used to it, the loss of The Masters, Wimbledon, and the NHL playoffs will be felt in real ways.

Until then, sports fans, it’s important we stay positive. Our long nightmare is just beginning, but better days are yet to come. Plus, all things considered, it’s not really that bad anyway.  

Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at sports@ahnfsj.ca

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