Sports Information Director Neil H. Devlin, in the latest Mullen Today Unordinary Times, writes about the unmatched speed and devastation of the coronavirus (COVID-19); the relentless boredom of staying home; missing the Mullen community and all that comes with it; and the void of working at a high school that was suddenly taken away. However, there’s hope, we need to follow it and we’ll keep putting up a fight. It’s one we can win if we’re smart.
Unless you’re, oh, a dozen decades-or-so old, you’ve never seen or dealt with anything like it, this coronavirus that also comes with its own acronym and number (COVID-19).
Little did I know at the time in early March and shortly before COVID-19 erupted, but I happened to see a photograph on Twitter of a big-league baseball player in the batter’s box sporting a medical mask, and a catcher and umpire doing likewise at their respect spots. It was the Spanish Flu in 1918, I had no idea what it was and it killed an estimated 50 million.
But here we are with COVID-19 and its weeks of worldwide stay-at-home, better-to-stay-at-home, crippling of economies, taxing of healthcare systems, death tolls that supersede wars’, shutting down of gymnasiums, movie theaters, restaurants, schools and sports, unnerving days of wearing masks and gloves, and a still-at-large fear of what’s next. The speed in which COVID-19 has spread has been, well, awesome, and only been rivaled by the unknown of the coming days, weeks and months.
We just don’t know when, where, why and how we’re going to get back to a sense of confident normalcy, although we are beginning to see some signs of movement.
But here’s what I do know from staying home:
I know I can’t watch any more sports shows with lists, polls and reruns of previous events, and lkisten to hosts who clearly are desperate for material.
I know I can’t take one more person on television telling me everything is going to be OK or singing about it. And do we really have to have so many local TV reports on the Broncos? (Yo! We’re in May, gang!).
I know you can only walk your German shepherds so many times, but, hey, they’ve given me something to do and been keeping me sane. (This is my life!)
I know you can only watch so many tough-guy flicks, episodes of Sesame Street, Price Is Right and Jeopardy!, and recordings of the old Columbo, Mission: Impossible and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., and sit on even the most-comfortable furniture for so many hours.
I know I’ve come to hate sentences containing “social (anything)”; ”what it will look like”; and “this is the new (fill in the blank).”
I know there’s a big world out there; it’s just that none of us can get out and see it.
I know there are distinct possibilities for this COVID-19 thing to spike … again. But, man, I hope not.
I know I haven’t put on a Mullen top or cap since mid-March and put on only about 100 miles on my pickup truck in eight weeks.
I know I’ve really missed watching Mullen kids competing and writing about them ... and hope that they’ve missed competing with me watching them and writing about them.
I know I really wanted to watch Megan Pohs lead Mullen girls basketball, the defending Class 4A champion, to a second consecutive crown, but the Mustangs’ uplifting overtime victory in the semifinals will never be followed by a title shot.
I know I’ll never view the current Mullen baseball team that got off to a rousing start and had legitimate promise, and was welcoming back senior Trey Sieradski, who has been putting up as strong of a fight against cancer as you may see. Sophomore Trevor Moore? Senior Alek Elges? I’ll never got the chance to see their 2020 seasons.
I know I’ll never see sophomore Sofia Choi take her chance to take down Holy Family’s Hailey Schalk, who was going for an unprecedented fourth medalist. Choi was 4A Colorado runner-up a year ago.
I know I won’t see J.P. Starkey’s return from injury to lacrosse or younger coach Matt Cawley further develop the program.
I know I’m going to miss what could be a huge track season, topped by sophomore Agur Dwol, who was ranked as high as fourth nationally in the triple jump, or interesting sprinter Ellie Bixenman.
I know I won’t see Emma Ryan’s senior year as keeper in soccer. nor will I see Anna Seaman’s junior campaign
I know I won’t get to watch senior Will Chavez contend for a state title in the pool, where he also hoped to advance to the Olympic Trials.
I know I can’t head to the tennis courts to see the likes of 12th-graders Jordan Cleary, Bella Wallrath, Rebecca Watts and Megan Sandy.
I know it will be some time before I walk Mullen’s campus freely, saying hello to students, greeting Mustangs teachers and administrators, and talking to coaches about their teams.
I know I’ve missed seeing Mustangs parents, alumni and followers.
I know I covered a grand total of one spring event, a girls golf match in the Centennial League at Springhill Golf Course in Aurora, a far cry from the previous 39 springs I’ve covered in full.
However, I do know that man is coming up with ways to deal with COVID-19, preliminary steps are being taken to further relax some of the much-needed restrictions and an anxious, eager population can’t wait to congregate.
And I know Mullen will be back.
Because Mustangs, like everyone else in high schools, may be stymied, but they won’t be defeated.
They are going to overcome closed campuses, online courses, canceled sports and clubs, very different styles of graduation and college trails, as well as, of course, the unknown about remains for the 2020-21 school year.
And they’re going to be back.
Every Mullen person I’ve talked with remains confident.
It’s the beauty of being a Mustang.