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Basketball is a pastime, not a priority

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We’ve been reminded of this so often lately.

Brooklyn Nets Vs Boston Celtics at TD Garden Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

2020 is finally behind us, but we are still applying the lessons we learned last year. We’re not in the bubble anymore, for good or bad. Where we go from here is anyone’s guess, but the hope here is that we’ll get there safely and more united.

There’s still so much going on, from the continuing pandemic to the political tire fires to the still not forgotten racial inequities plaguing our country. Once again we are reminded that basketball is a fun pastime and good diversion, but not the priority in our lives.

The issue staring us in the face this week is COVID (again). The NBA owners and players collectively decided to play the season knowing full well the risks associated with it. They have put in many rules and policies that are designed to maximize safety and flexibility. How it is working is up for debate and any system of rules is going to have flaws because you can’t plan for every single potential scenario that could occur.

The Celtics face an uncertain immediate future and a continually shifting number of other players showing up on the “injury” report due to health and safety protocols. You could make a solid case that the NBA as a whole faces an uncertain future for finishing out the season (which still doesn’t have a full schedule published).

The scary thing in the immediate future is that these aren’t characters in a Netflix series. These are real people with real risks, not just to them (and who knows what the long term effects of this will be as athletes?), but their friends and family members who might be at risk. The game is entertainment and we’ve been drawn into the community of it. We’ve become very attached to these men as well as the men and women surrounding the team and sport. I’m just starting to get worried about them.

It’s great that we have a vaccine that is starting to be rolled out, but this is a good reminder that we are far from being out of the woods with this thing. I want to have a sense of “getting back to normal” (whatever that even means at this point), but not if it puts people at risk. So we have to remain vigilant and careful and above all patient with each other (including those trying to work through the details of how to handle the logistics what to do next in all areas of life).

The Celtics are going to look like a shell of themselves for a while. The standings across the league are going to be all over the place this year. The seedings and playoffs themselves could in fact be impacted by all of this and some teams might get the short end of that stick (that is assuming we get that far).

I don’t have a lot of answers for what to do next and what is fair or not fair. All I know is that I’ll be approaching this a day at a time and hoping for the best. I’ll be reminding myself to reach out to loved ones and encouraging everyone to be safe. So consider this me reaching out to you. Be careful, be safe, be patient, and be excellent to each other (even if and especially when some of us don’t deserve it). Take care everyone.