Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a member and past president of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year 10 times and has been inducted into the Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Like It Is:
Despite inconveniences, life carries on
About 200, the maximum recommended, were on hand for the 2020 Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame inductions Friday night.
An event usually attended by closer to 1,000 did not get sidelined by the coronavirus, it just made considerable exceptions. In the end, it was another successful and great event.
Inductees, their families and close friends, as well as essential board members, were allowed to attend. Hall of Fame President Greg Flesher made one of the great statements of the night.
“It is Friday the 13th, and the stock market was up almost 2,000 points,” he said. “We are going to beat this thing.”
And we will, as individuals and the greatest nation in the world.
But this is an odd time.
Never in my 41 years as a sports columnist did it cross my mind that there would be no sports for two to four weeks.
Oh sure, Oaklawn is running, but at least until next week it is not open to the public. Gambling and watching the races can still be done at www.oaklawnanywhere.com.
Even though it will lose money, the track needed to run because Saturday’s Rebel Stakes that awards points toward the Kentucky Derby, which isn’t run until the first Saturday in May.
Until then, a lot will happen.
Millions will be tested. Some will have the virus, and they will be treated.
Others will be cleared, and life will go on.
Right now all this is an inconvenience, but how the situation has caused a shortage of toilet paper is beyond me.
No one needs to panic.
That’s one of the reasons the NBA and Major League Baseball have POSTPONED their seasons, not canceled them.
Whoever decided to cancel the College World Series in June was premature and part of the problem.
The strongest advice thus far is to wash your hands (sanitizing them is fine if you can find any sanitizer), avoid large crowds, wash your hands, be cautious about travel plans, wash your hands and then wash your hands again.
A lot has been learned about coronavirus, and a lot is being done.
Try not to get your information from websites, especially those that have a cure to sell.
This paper double- and triple-checks all facts and figures it reports. Our online edition is offering free coverage of important coronavirus information.
Yours truly and wife have a European trip planned in May, and we are still going unless my government tells me I can’t, or the governments of the four countries we are scheduled to visit say don’t come.
Or if American Airlines doesn’t fly to our destination on our date.
We are going to church this morning.
We are going to continue to eat at our favorite restaurants.
We are going to work tomorrow morning.
We will continue to have a normal life with more hand washing than ever.
The coronavirus has sidelined us, not taken us prisoner.
Like most, we are not shaking hands with anyone right now, including friends. That’s an easy precaution.
Usually your trusty scribe gets away from the world of perspiring arts in June and part of July.
Those are the months batteries are recharged for football and basketball seasons, when rarely a day off is found.
The next few weeks will be an opportunity for me to revisit some of the great sports history I’ve had the privilege of covering, with more details about what happened away from the game.
Your newspaper, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, will continue to publish the best newspaper in the country every day. For the majority of you, no one’s hands will have touched it but yours when you turn on your iPad.
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