At some point Thursday night or Friday morning, I started scribbling down Notre Dame-specific ideas for pandemic and isolation content. Mostly, they focused on how the calendar looks moving forward. By Sunday evening, those notes were all outdated.
This is going to be an uncertain stretch, particularly the next couple weeks. When I say “uncertain,” I mean as it pertains to planning editorial content, but I also clearly mean, ya know, everything. So I’ll make you a deal, dear readers who for once might actually have nothing better to do than read my middling writing: If you are smart and behave in accordance with what is best for the greater good, I will do my absolute best to put together a minimum of 5-10 minutes of distraction for you if not every day, then most days.
Some of it will be looser than others, including this, as evidenced by my rare usage of personal pronouns. That’s usually a writing no-no, but if I can’t talk to anyone else, I’m going to talk to myself. I’ll probably even reply. And this is that result.
Some of those distractions will seem preemptive, but that’s what happens after losing five weeks of content from spring practices and then the two weeks afterward reflecting on those performances. From an editorial content calendar perspective, May has already arrived.
At first, back on Thursday and Friday, there was still the ignorant thought the Irish might resume a condensed spring practice at some point in April. Given the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation Sunday night that all events of 50+ people be canceled or postponed for the next eight weeks, the idea of a football practice in April is an impractical one, pun intended.
And stop, you, yes, I hear you about to ask, “What if they just practiced with half the roster?” Sure, and with no coaches by your math. “Fine, what about 20 players at a time?” It’s not going to happen. It’s just not. That’s a good thing. In a time when basic probabilities indicate our every priority needs to be elsewhere, let’s not shoehorn in some football practices.
There is the natural temptation to believe the CDC could be setting eight weeks as the expectations with hopes of shortening that rather than initially saying four weeks and then later on having to lengthen it. I can understand that rhetoric, but then I look at the NBA hoping for a “mid-to-late June return to play.” The NBA has smart people figuring out when it can stop losing hundreds of millions of dollars, and if they do not expect to be able to play until three months from now, there is no chance Notre Dame practices before the end of the scheduled semester.
I look at Major League Baseball “preparing” for a June Opening Day, and I ignore any “open-air” claims of an expedited timeline for football.
Personally, my No. 1 hope is for health and safety, obviously, with a few at-risk individuals in my life constantly at the front of my mind, as I am sure is the case for most of us. When sports will return is down the list of priorities a bit, which is saying something for someone whose livelihood very much depends on them, but once to that point among my priorities, my hope is the Irish host Arkansas on Sept. 12.
No doubt about it when you look at what’s happening elsewhere. I would be really surprised if fall college sports start on time, and there’s no guarantee next college hoops season starts on time. https://t.co/p201zn1I5j
— Ken Pomeroy (@kenpomeroy) March 14, 2020
We can begin worrying later about the trip to Dublin to face Navy on Aug. 29. So many factors are at play with an international game in normal times, it is utterly difficult to project with any logic currently. But if the season as a whole begins largely on schedule, that will not only represent a semblance of normalcy and a South Bend safe haven, it will also set an end date to a content planning game of darts.
Ironically, this was always going to be a slow stretch. The Irish had a 12-day hiatus built into their spring practice schedule, courtesy of spring break.
Remember when Kevin Austin had an encouraging first spring football practice? That was only 10 days ago.
— Carter Karels (@CarterKarels) March 15, 2020
My usual goal in the slow stretches is to have a consistent enough baseline of content that no one has to place a wellness check on me. You think I kid, but my mother admitted to me this weekend what I have long known: She checks my publishing regularity when I have not called home recently. Note: I called home each of the last four days, but uncertain times call for unusual measures.
Frankly, establishing a default method of warding off a wellness check is probably a good idea these days. Publishing every day might not be necessary, but I pledged more days than not, right? I also mentioned preemptive thoughts.
The summer staple of “Notre Dame 99-to-2” might forgo its usual implicit countdown indication and instead become a spring-into-summer filler. The preseason “Notre Dame’s Opponents” previews could now come before the preseason even begins. The “30 Years of Notre Dame on NBC” columns may no longer be published on only Saturdays.
Like everything these days, this content calendar is in flux. Hopefully, unlike the bars, restaurants and coffeehouses in your neighborhood, this space will not be empty. That is my promise to you, just because you are sitting at home on your couch right now.
Have I wasted 5-10 minutes of your day yet? Great, now waste another minute in the comments. More than ever, content ideas and questions are welcomed.
More than ever, chatter amongst yourselves to add some socializing to your social distancing is encouraged.
More than ever, hang in, sports will return, and with them, Notre Dame football.
Don't know that I'll ever again welcome empty stadiums and arenas. I've always loved that vast, silent space. Already I again yearn for the crowds. pic.twitter.com/QxxYsZm2rv
— Douglas Farmer (@D_Farmer) March 16, 2020
INSIDE THE IRISH READING
— Notre Dame cancels in-person classes due to coronavirus
— If Notre Dame continues to practice, hard to believe it will be for long
— Notre Dame suspends spring practices, cancels Blue-Gold Game
— 30 Years of Notre Dame on NBC: The Irish fell, but more importantly, football returned after 9/11
CORONAVIRUS READING, please, the more we all know, the better we understand the reasons for self-isolation and social distancing, and the better off the greater population is:
— ‘It could happen to anybody’: Lawyer, 45, in critical care
— This is not a snow day
— Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to “flatten the curve”
— Here’s the biggest thing to worry about with coronavirus
— Hari Kunzru (@harikunzru) March 16, 2020
— Coronavirus prompts Notre Dame DE Alexander Ehrensberger to stay in Germany for now
— The NBA had no choice. Neither do the rest of us. Shut everything down.
— The ACC wanted its tournament to play on. Only Duke’s president had the courage to stop it
— Sports crystallized coronavirus for America; now we adjust to life without them
The @SaintJoeHigh standout will head to his dad's old stomping grounds.
Brian went 118-35-2 and won 2 National Championships leading the Lakers, now Kenzel is going to try and get one. https://t.co/8HpQvaqoU9
— Adam Derengowski (@AdamDerWSBT) March 13, 2020