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Is Fantasy Football Being Optimistic for an NFL?

Let’s get right to it.

This shelter in place deal stinks. We are social creatures forced to behave in an antisocial way. It stinks. I can pet my neighbor’s dog but can’t shake hands with said neighbor. I’m washing hands so often I will never sing, “Happy Birthday,” again.

One of the ways to cope is fantasy. This morning I fantasized that it wasn’t a Sunday in COVID-19 March, rather a Sunday in vaccine October. NFL season. Glorious NFL season.

Which team will be the most fun to watch:

The Arizona Cardinals, with Kyler Murray throwing to DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, Larry Fitzgerald and a tight end to be named later?

Or, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Tom Brady throwing to Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard?

In fact, I’m willing to purchase a separate NFL South Division RedZone so I can see Matt Ryan throwing to Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Todd Gurley II and TE Hayden Hurst, and Drew Brees throwing to Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Alvin Kamara?

Or Patrick Mahomes throwing to Tyreke Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mercole Hardman, Travis Kelce and Damien Williams.

Or Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer throwing to tripled teamed Julian Edelman? (I’ve waited almost two decades for this)!

Or Dak Prescott throwing to Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Zeke Elliott?

Or Mitch Trubisky throwing to the yard marker? Or is that Nick Foles?

Or, don’t dismiss this one, Phillip Rivers throwing to T.Y. Hilton, Zach Pascal, Parris Campbell and tight end Jack Doyle?

Or, Deshaun Watson throwing to? It’s not fair. It’s just not fair.

Or Josh Allen hopefully throwing to Stefan Diggs, John Brown, Cole Beasley and Devin Singletary?

Or Sam Darnold throwing six more touchdowns than interceptions?

Or Lamar Jackson throwing, to himself?

Or Jared Goff throwing for 78 yards two weeks after throwing for 517 (both losses)?

Or Ryan Tannehill completing 70-percent of his passes with a quarterback/interception of better than 3-to-1? Ryan Tannehill?

Or Derek Carr throwing to Nelson Agholor? Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Or Aaron Rodgers throwing to anyone at any time from any place on the field?

Or Drew Lock throwing for a passing rating of 48.2 yet going 4-1?

Or Tyrod Taylor hoping the Chargers pass on quarterback in the draft?

Or the Redskins passing on a quarterback because, well, they’re the Redskins?

Or a healthy Teddy Bridgewater getting his much-deserved chance to be a starter and having a weapon as versatile and potent as Christian McCaffrey?

Or Kirk Cousins posting his sixth straight season of 3,600 yards or more without getting to an NFC Championship game?

Or 23-year-old Joe Burrow throwing to 32-year-old A.J. Green?

Or Russell Wilson throwing to Tyler Locket, DK Metcalf and Greg Olsen?

Or Jimmy Garoppolo throwing for 165 yards one week and 349 the next?

Or Daniel Jones throwing from an upright position?

Or the warrior known as Matthew Stafford throwing to Marvin Jones, Kenny Golladay, Danny Amendola and T.J. Hockenson.

Or Ryan Fitzpatrick playing catch with Tua Tagovailoa?

Or the Pittsburgh Steelers throwing a Hail Mary in the 2nd round of the draft?

Or Carson Wentz throwing to Zach Ertz or Dallas Goedert, or to Dallas Goedert or Zach Ertz?

Or Baker Mayfield throwing 21 interceptions and dropping 42 verbal farts?

Or Gardner Minshew II throwing to, uh, how ‘bout that draft?

Or Patrick Mahomes throwing to Tyreke Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mercole Hardman, Travis Kelce and Damien Williams? Wait. Didn’t we write that already?

O.K. how about this?

Training camp to open this summer giving all of us sports-starved fans hope of watching the NFL in the fall. Amen.

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Covid-19 on Long Island

The things that have to be done to protect Long Islanders by Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

As the 2nd week of the pandemic effects Long Island, it’s time to demand from our representatives that these following items become law to protect the welfare of ourselves and family.

#1 An immediate halt of real estate taxes until the crisis is over.

#2 The guarantee of utilities, gas, electric, cell service and cable service for all, until the end of the crisis.

#3 A plan by the state and federal government to fund an emergency food plan so that families food needs are met.

#4 Planned shopping days for communities so that everyone gets a fair share of goods, with limits on items per visit.

#5 An immediate halt on all payments of car loans, credit card bills and insurance payments for 90 days without penalty.

These items are of the utmost importance to the wellbeing of the Island and Nation until the crisis of covid -19 ends.

Difficult Without Sports But There Are Options To Our Isolation

Yes, this is difficult. We are home and staying safe. We are dealing with a Coronavirus pandemic and making that adjustment. This was supposed to be the first weekend of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. 

We were five days away from Opening Day of the 2020 baseball season. Instead, at Citi Field, a makeshift hospital and relief center is being planned

We are without sports.  We are adjusting to viewing daily updates from the White House, your Governor, and Mayor. We are isolated and hoping this crisis will pass soon.

Saturday and Sunday, and next weekend,  CBS Sports is televising memorable games from past NCAA tournaments. MLB Network, the regional networks, are also replaying memorable games.

The baseball fix in New York includes a Mets marathon on SNY. The Yankees showing their classic series on YES, and audio feeds of the Michael Kay sports talk show on ESPN Radio.

The NBA and NHL channels also do their part to keep us entertained. 

How the WWE will stage WrestleMania, a reformatted two day event, and with  no fans at their Orlando performance center in two weeks will be interesting and different. 

WrestleMania, a highlight show on the wrestling calendar for the WWE and fans, was supposed to be held before 75,000 or more at Raymond James Stadium, Sunday April 5 in Tampa .

Instead, the evening before, with reportedly some taped matches, will highlight the mega event. No pyro, no fans, and matches scrapped. Pro wrestlers are making the adjustments and it will be similar to a rehearsal or audition they have experienced before gaining their stardom to the top.

We are in this together. And, said here again, sports are not the priority here as much as the world of fun and games would be a diversion from this crisis that confronts our world and nation.

So without sports, there are some options as we continue to isolate in our homes. This past week, in between some writing and dealing with the isolation, there were some good options to get your fix.

Sports books, the classic events and movies to pass the time are becoming a norm.  Though there is nothing better than viewing a live event, and we could be without that for the next few months,  .

 Any hope for the start of the 2020 season is not anytime soon. The hope, as can be determined, MLB season openers are on hold at least to June.

And that is being optimistic, all depending of course on how long the Coronavirus Pandemic abates. Talking to numerous sports personnel over the past few days, and the overall opinion is MLB and other leagues will await the first move of the NBA when it comes to resuming their schedule.

Why the NBA? The National Basketball Association was the first to shut down and seem to be at the forefront of taking control. Other sports leagues will follow their path. 

In addition, with the 2020 MLB season, players would need another two-week spring training period for conditioning and the schedule would need a major readjustment. That means doubleheaders that are rare on a schedule and a shortened season which are not the norm.

Again, that is speculation as we go day-by-day with this crisis and hope for the best.

Pitchers were at the point of throwing at speeds where they should be. The hitters, always behind the pitchers, they will need more time to catch up and that is usually the case during a normal spring training period..

Let’s say 81 games or fewer, instead of a regular 162-game slate and no All–Star game. Players would get paid when the season begins. 

Now, as understood, the MLBPA and  owners are working out details of the specifics as to their contracts and payment and pertaining to  details about pay scales in cases such as a national state of emergency.

The other sports will deal with specifics, perhaps not as complicated for the NHL and Major League soccer.  Boxing will resume with lucrative network deals and promotions at Top Rank, PBC, Matchroom, Golden Boy, and others.

They  will saturate the market with events every weekend for the boxing fan as the non mainstream fighters train at home and await their next payday. Most, if not all of the boxing gyms have been closed due to the pandemic.

The Kentucky Derby, Masters Golf Tournament, major events on the spring calendar, have announced they are rescheduling their major events to a later time.  

Still up in the air is how the USTA will handle the U.S. Open In Flushing Queens. That was scheduled for the later part of August. 

In the meantime some books to suggest to get your fix:

  • Staying Positive The Story of The Real Paul Banke (Boxing)
  • Once There Were Giants. The Golden Age of Heavyweight Boxing (Jerry Izenberg)
  • Inside Pitch. My Life As a Major League Closer (Skip Lockwood)

More to come in the coming days as we go through the pile with some of the best books and classic sports to view.

Most of all be SAFE! We are in this together and will get back to normal in due time. 

Comment: Ring786@aol.com  Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

Made In China, Part 2 Deceit, Disease, and Death

Paying the price.A Deal with the Devil. How corporate greed, profits, and Chinese manipulative practices, endangers the security of our country and the world.An Editorial by Neil Miller/Publisher,The New York Extra/ TheNYExtra.com.With additional reporting and editing by Toni Hoyos.

As our country grapples with the Chinese virus pandemic, it’s time to stop avoiding blame of the Communist Chinese government, and time to examine some of the events that have led us to this point.

Specifically, it is the worlds acceptance in succumbing to the lure of cheap and inferior products of drugs, steel and other essential goods. This has amounted to a “Deal with the Devil”. They say money is the root of all evil, well then we have pimped ourselves to China all in the name of big business and money , to a country that manufactures our medicines, antibiotics and the raw materials needed to make medicines. 81% of the API (active pharmaceutical ingredients) are said to come from China. A Dept of Commerce study found 97% of all antibiotics in the US came from China. China’s poor quality control, substandard doses and low budget for research and development lead to major concerns over the safety and efficacy of these medications. Unfortunately fraud and manipulation of quality data is still widespread. Corporate profits and stock indexes came before national security and health.This is only one example of how Communist China works.

By outsourcing these important goods, not only have we put our American workforce in dire jeopardy, we have also allowed our country to be open for possible blackmail by the Communist Chinese if we act against their purposes.

With the ” one world ” scenarios, and the influence of the Chinese in our economic, educational and cultural world, it leaves us open to spies in our midst. Just last week a Harvard professor was arrested for lying to the government and Harvard about his involvement in a Chinese program for which he was paid for . There were also ties to a Bio lab, in of all places Wuhan,China. Also arrested were 2 Chinese nationals, one an officer in the Chinese army, the other charged with attempting to smuggle 21 vials of biological research out of the US to China. What the Chinese can’t buy with money they try to steal in regards to sensitive research and development.

This brings up the point of the source of the current pandemic, the 2nd major killer virus exported from China . Sars, and now Chinese coronavirus. They started with ties to bats that crossed over to other animals, then to humans. The current virus is the same. As noted in the 1st part of this series, the current food practices of some Chinese, caused the explosion of the current plague.

I have been accused of being a racist and a xenophobe. I am neither, and admire the work ethic, intelligence and contributions of Chinese Americans. Their dedication to family values that they bring to our way of life as Americans is admirable. We all reject racism of ethnic backround, color, religion and country of origin. However the facts are inescapable. There are many ideas how the virus came to be in the Wuhan wet market. Some say it was a natural transmission between infected animals, some say there’s a more sinister reason.

Several rumors have it, that the Wuhan super lab had an accident and it leaked out. Another rumor has it that lab animals infected with disease were sold by lab staff for money to local food vendors. Neither of these have been proven one way or the other by the Communist Chinese. In fact,the words of doctors and researchers were stifled in order to prevent another horrible Chinese embarrassment.

Whatever the truth is, and hopefully after this catastrophe there will be a world wide police inquiry, the one thing we can be certain of is this, the customs of the local Chinese population, along with the fact that the Chinese government never closed these markets nor helped to change their cultural food habits, has led directly to this 3rd , and most deadly outbreak.

How long will it take to confront the Communist Chinese government, with total world outrage, to end these pandemics? The answer is” Our Deal with the Devil” stops us. It is time to exorcise the demon, and make him repay the world for the deceit, disease and death it has brought to the world, and to retake our economic independence back.

When Sports Goes to the Dogs We All Win

ROBBINS NEST

By Lenn Robbins

The next time I read about a professional athlete under contract for say, $12 million per year who wants to renegotiate, I’m going to introduce him to Thomas Waerner.

Waerner, aka The Ice Warrior, is the winner of the 2020 Iditarod Trail Sled Race (just the Iditarod to us groupies). He and his League of Extraordinary Dogs completed the 1,000-mile course in nine days, 10 hours, 37 minutes and 47 seconds, give or take a couple of snowdrifts.

He received the winner’s purse of about, wait for it, $50,000, and possibly a pickup truck. More on that later.

You read that correctly: not five million, or $500,000, rather $50,000. And the truck. Don’t forget the truck. More on that later.

To recap, Waerner traversed the 1,000-mile, brutally cold, windswept journey in nine days, 10 hours, 37 minutes and don’t forget those 47 seconds. Upon crossing the finish line in Nome, Alaska and receiving his bounty, The Ice Warrior, boasted:

“This is a money-spending sport!”

Clearly, these Iditarod athletes are a different breed.  And we’re not talking about the dogs.

Despite repeated satellite phone calls and carrier pigeon messages that went unanswered, we believe the dogs’ purse was a chewy toy and nine days, 10 hours, 37 minutes and 47 seconds worth of free Purina Dog Chow as their winner’s purse.

None of the dogs complained.

Because of the Covid-19 virus, which has canceled sporting events all over the world, the Last Great Race on Earth as it’s known, got more media coverage than it has in decades.

It was one of the lead sports stories (one of the only stories) on the 5 p.m. news -in New York. Officials asked fans not to fly to Nome for the finish. We were unable get a non-stop from New York to Nome.

“We mushers are so lucky that we are in our own world,” Waerner told reporters. “We don’t think about anything.”

Probably not enough time to entertain idol thoughts when your sport consumes nine days, 10 hours, 37 minutes and 47 seconds to win.

Of course, the Ice Warrior knows he couldn’t have done it alone. He thanked his 10 dogs, petting and rubbing each. The dogs received a hot snack, which sources told TheNYExtra.com, was a double Shake Shack cheeseburger with grilled onions, and a side of cheese fries.

Still, we’re reminded that success can lead to greed. His lead dogs – K2 and Bark – declined to comment, however, sources say K2 is looking for an increase to K1 and Bark wants to change his name to Loud Bark.

Their agent, Brian “Family Guy” Blue was vague when asked about his client’s demands.

“This has never been about the money,” Blue said. “My clients just want to be shown the respect they’ve worked so hard for and the sacrifice they’ve given to this team.”

Waerner threw his support behind his four-legged friends who dragged his rear end for nine days, 10 hours, 37 minutes… He said that K2 is, “the inside engine that never stops,” and Bark is, “the one just charging through everything.”

Waerner won his first Iditarod in only his second time competing. Three-time champ Mitch Seavey finished second about five hours behind. He will earn about $43,000 for the finish. No truck.

Waerner will have to pay about $20,000 in taxes in Norway on the prize money and about the same for the truck, usually a Ram 2020 4×4 Pickup. But on the Monday before the finish, Fiat Chrysler announced it was dropping its sponsorship. Truck?

The dogs were heard whimpering.

“I was looking forward to doing a Nome bar crawl in that truck,” said K2.

“We should renegotiate,” said Bark.

Oh man.

We Are Coping Without Sports And So Is The Impact To Many

I am okay here in the Bronx and taking precaution.

Yes, we are changing routines and isolating and in due time this Coronavirus crisis will pass. So, before I head to a scheduled doctor appointment that was on the docket, here we go.

Sports are dark. My livelihood, as with others in all walks of life, has been disrupted. Sports have always been a diversion from a crisis but not now. We need to adjust, adapt, come together as a community.

You see, as the medical professionals handling this crisis say, we could be in this for the long haul. Adapting to no sports is an adjustment and you learn to do other things in the safety and comfort of your home.

Catch up on some reading. I have finished reading two books that were half way in.  Watch classic movies and relive the sports classics that are the alternative programming on various sports networks. 

 Of course, I will admit, “The Walking Dead” episode Sunday night had some shocking developments and outcomes. Though. admit. not the proper program to watch with our society in a crisis and keeping up with a television series did not change the routine. 

And reacquaint with your loved ones. We do tend  to get lost with our love and passion for sports. 

The only sports programming, and limited, bowling tournaments and NASCAR.  The NFL, the only sport in the offseason with their new labor agreement , trades, and free agency. 

Well, that is the only bit of news to talk and write about as Major League Baseball facilities are closed and the 2020 season is pushed back further into late May or June.

As Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen said, “This is bigger than baseball.” Indeed, baseball and all sports is not the priority now, The specifics of schedules, not just with baseball, will be determined. The economic impact, of course, will be huge.

The sport of boxing has come to a halt, and at a time when major fights have been put off the schedule. Top Rank, Premier Boxing Champions, and Matchroom Boxing, among the big three promotions, stand to lose a significant amount of revenue and at a standstill with new subscribers to their networks. 

Talent, the fighters, many who depend on a purse, are basically at a standstill and out of work as boxing gyms have closed their doors. The streaming networks  ESPN, DAZN, have to readjust when the sport resumes. 

According to a source, FOX Sports and Showtime, a major part of the boxing schedule, will be forced to double up shows on weekends which is good for the boxing fan. But, too much saturation of the sport, at the same time, could work to a disadvantage when the sport resumes with the chaotic rescheduling of fight cards. 

According to the promoters, all ticket orders will be refunded from the original point of purchase.   And for fans, many with a economic loss due to the Coronavirus pandemic, paying for the network streams could become a financial burden. 

“The health and safety of the boxers, fans, and those working the events are of utmost importance to us,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB promotions and lead promoter of the cancelled PBC shows. 

He added, “We are all disappointed and as we get more information we will address future events.”

And this goes beyond the major sports leagues and promoters.. The little guy and personnel. They secure safety of venues, ticket sales personnel, concession workers, vendors, and more feeling the impact of a sports shutdown.

They, too, are taking a hit and realizing safety is first. Many are paid seasonal, and a six month baseball season does pay the bills. Some security personnel, on a full time basis, have been asked to stay home.

“It will be a hardship,” said a seasonal worker that is employed as one of many security personnel at Citi Field and Madison Square Garden. It is expected with federal funding they will recoup some of their losses.

Some also will be able to qualify for unemployment insurance as seasonal employees at the ballpark qualify.

Regardless, sports in the dark is having that type of impact.

Impact of sports programming also is being felt with broadcast talent and production personnel. They are employed as freelancers and sitting on the sidelines. 

They, the freelance talent, will sustain a financial loss.  So, basically the impact is all around the sports industry. We as a society are all feeling the impact and need to adjust.

In the days and weeks to come, we will try on these pages to provide readers as to how this impact of the Coronavirus is having an impact. The impact on all walks of life no matter what you do.  

You see, it’s not just about sports going dark. It’s a nation, a city, and some points of the world all in that readjustment period of time. 

We are in this together. BE SAFE!

Comment: Ring786@aol.com  Twitter@Ring786  Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

The Killer among us, lack of Moral ,common sense and responsible actions endanger us all on Long Island

An editorial by Neil Miller,publisher,The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

Ok guys, I like my drink and a dance as well as the next person, but it’s time to cut the crap and start acting like the adults we are. The lack of common sense actions of those on Long Island threatens the old and at risk in our population.

We have all read on line, and in conversations, “I’m going to live my life and to Hell with Corona Virus!” , it is a recipe for disaster for us all. We need to give up our entertainment pleasures for 2-3 weeks to, “flatten the curve”, so we all don’t become geometric carriers that infect our people.

By failing to do so, we jeopardize our mothers, fathers, the old and compromised in our community. And here’s the punch line, CAN YOU LIVE WITH YOURSELF, KNOWING YOUR A PARTNER IN MURDER? Long Island it’s YOUR turn to save a life. Stay out of the bars, the movies, theatres, clubs, restaurants or any large gathering place. Keep your children at home. Be safe and healthy, Neil Miller ,publisher, The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com.

ESCAPING COVID19: SHIELDED FOR A DAY

A FEEL SAFE HAVEN By Toni Hoyos, Editorial Advisor, TheNew York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

Video of visitors to Jones Beach State Park 03/15/2020 Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

Blue skies, sunshine, mild temps and low winds, the perfect winter day for a stroll on the boardwalk at Jones Beach State Park. An ideal place to walk, see the ocean, feel the sun on your face breathe fresh air and feel shielded from coronavirus. At least that was the general consensus among those walking the boardwalk.

Ginger Bonner,a Bellmore N.Y. resident, At Field 6 Boardwalk, Jones Beach State Park, 03/15/2020 / Neil Miller/The NewYork Extra/TheNYExtra.com/copyright 2020

Ginger Bonner from Bellmore felt the boardwalk was a “Corona Free” place” and expressed her feelings about the coronavirus pandemic had changed “I’m not the same person I was last week” and now she wasn’t taking it so lightly.

Field 6 parking lot was full on this beautiful Sunday. Families, couples, bicyclists, kids on scooters, all were out on the boardwalk holding hands, talking and smiling. The outdoor open area was one where you could breathe freely and feel secure.

Alison Lubell, Manhattan, and James Hammond, London England, at Field 6 ,Jones Beach State Park, 03/15/2020 /Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com /copyright 2020

Manhattan resident Alison Lubell was happy to be out on this “gorgeous and beautiful day” and felt people needed to be “aware and responsible”. James Hammond hailing from London England felt the situation was “fanned 80% by the media and 20% concern” he said “being on the boardwalk sure beat the subway crowds” which he found to be terrifying.

Jones Beach video of Alison Lubell and James Hammond /Neil Miller/ The New york Extra/TheNYExtra.com/copyright 2020

Tony and Pat Brinkmann of Sayville were enjoying the “fresh air and sunshine”. Tony expressed he felt it was a safe environment and that’s why they came today, there was “plenty of open space to not be crowed by people”.

Tony and Pat Brinkmann from Sayville N.Y. at The Field 6 Boardwalk ,Jones Beach State Park, Neil Miller/The NewYork Extra/TheNYExtra.com /copyright 2020

Video of Tony and Pat Brinkmann, at Jones Beach Boardwalk 03/15/2020 Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com /copyright 2020
Video of Ginger Bonner,Bellmore N.Y. Jones Beach State Park Boardwalk ,03/15/2020 Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

The coming weeks will tell what lies ahead concerning Covid19. In the meantime the smart and responsible thing to do is limit your exposure, the tried and true method of wash your hands don’t touch your face and social distancing. This is for the good of all and will help prevent what could have a devastating effect on our healthcare system. The opportunity to be outside on this beautiful day yet feel safe was one many of us took today.

COVID-19 CAN STEAL OUR SPORTS BUT NOT OUR SOULS

ROBBINS NEST

By Lenn Robbins/An editorial by The New York Extra,Editor – in- Chief

COVID-19 is a thief.

It has no conscience, no empathy. It will steal the most precious heirlooms – family and health – if we allow it.

Already it has stolen all of our spring conference tournaments, the NBA, the NHL, Spring Training, and pushed back Opening Day, soccer and tennis matches. You name a sporting event, chances are it’s gone for the foreseeable future.

New York, NY. Thursday, March 12, 2020. Big East commissioner Val Ackerman announces the cancellation of the Big East Tournament during halftime of the St. John’s-Creighton game. St. John’s vs. Creighton at Madison Square Garden.

“I’ve got to tell you, it breaks my heart,” Big East commissioner Val Ackerman said Thursday after canceling her conference tournament midway through the St. John’s-Creighton game. “This is the greatest college basketball tournament ever. But we respect the decision of authorities. We’re very mindful about what’s happening nationally. We do not want to be imprudent as it relates to the safety of our participants and our fans.

New York, NY. Thursday, March 12, 2020. Nick Rutherford of St. John’s drives to the basket while defended by Jett Canfield (10) and Mitchell Ballock of Creighton. St. John’s vs. Creighton at Madison Square Garden.

“And it’s terrifying, frankly, what’s evolving here as the science and the assessments of the science are progressing. And I don’t think any of us know what’s going to happen tomorrow.”

We don’t.

It was disheartening to turn on the TV at 7:00 p.m. and not to choose between the ACC and Big East tournaments.

It was jarring to receive texts from my Rutgers students asking what would comprise the midterm exam now that there is no Selection Sunday to cover.

It was surreal walking into my CVS and seeing empty shelves where there had once been five brands of toilet paper.

And yet all of us can be the lucky ones.

As I passed a neighborhood schoolyard, I saw a father and his junior high school aged daughter shooting hoops. A couple of friends played ping pong. A group of grade school kids played pickup basketball. Couples and families and friends strolled to the rhythm of their own laughter.

It is not the fault of COVID-19 that we have been increasingly isolated by the greatest communication tool in history – the Smartphone.

It is not the fault of COVID-19 that streaming has replaced conversation at the dinner table.

It is not the fault of COVID-19 that texting is replacing talking as the favorite means of communication for teenagers.

COVID-19 can push us further apart or we choose to draw closer together.

We can mourn the loss of sports, or we can try to help low-wage workers whose income is dependent on taking tickets or serving hot dogs or cleaning arenas.

We can mourn a spring without NCAA and conference tournaments, or we can support all of the seniors who will miss a chance to make a priceless memorial.

We can the mourn the possibility that we might have witnessed the end of some of our favorite professional athlete’s career or we can hold on to the memory of the joy they provided.

This is what we can make sure COVID-19 doesn’t take. As social animals, we need each other. We need compassion and empathy. We might not be able to congregate in large numbers but we can offer large and open hearts.

Many around the world have lost friends and family. COVID-19 will take more lives. It will take more sports. But it can’t take our souls. That’s worth any sacrifice we have to make.

Silent Spring

The possible loss of beloved Long Island Music Scene by Neil Miller/The New York Extra

As the spread of Corona Virus creeps into every part of our life on the Island, none is so painful to local music lovers as the possible loss or reduction in the music scene as we know it.

What we do know as of today, is Gov. Cuomo has now stopped gatherings of any group over 500, and those places under 500 have to cut the amount of people attending by 50%

What does that mean for us as of today? No Coliseum , NYCB Music Fair , The Space, The Tilles Center, and perhaps Nutty Irishman, Mulcahy’s, 89 North among others. And if the ban continues, add The Salt Shack, The Boatyard, and Lido Beach as well.

The smaller venues like KJ Farrells, The Warehouse, Sunset Grill, Beau’s and others will stay open for now, but with reduced music fans. All we can do is pray for the health of our country and Long Island and that this terrible time of disease goes away as quick as it came.