We are living in unparalleled times. We are living in very historical times. For the first time that I, as a 46 year old man, can remember, we have become witness to something that has postponed every professional sports league in the U.S., suspended school years and made travel around the globe by boat, air or across borders by car virtually impossible. No…. the world has not broken out in a full on world war. The world has been hit by a pandemic….. a sickness. A virus called the Coronavirus or COVID-19.

Around the globe, world leaders have went and taken extreme precautions to try to prevent the spread of this virus by shutting down virtually everything.

A virus, which has been said to have began in China, is now in nearly 100 countries around the globe.

The media has been blamed for starting a panic among people everywhere. People are buying and emptying out shelves of toilet paper and Kleenex everywhere.

Yes…. this is the social world that we live in today. People take to Facebook and Twitter and post everything that is going on around them.

The Coronavirus became such a phenomenon that when the news broke about Rudy Gobert coming down with the virus for the Utah Jazz… the NBA shut down all operations. Mark Cuban was seen seeing the news and being in disbelief at the outcome.

So was the rest of America when news came across the wire that the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament was not just postponing itself for now…… but was cancelled. If anything smacked America in the face at the impact this virus was making this did. Cancel the NCAA Tournament?? And again the answer was yes. Tournament officials did not want to promote the spread of the virus and do possible harm to the spectators or the players by having the tournament go on as scheduled.

The effect of this virus even affected me personally. I am an assistant coach for the Gate City High School boys basketball team in Gate City, Virginia located in the Southwest part of Virginia.

We recently made a trip to Richmond to play our Class 2 state championship game for the Virginia High School League. We prepared and went to the Siegel Center on Thursday to play John Marshall High School out of Richmond. Our girls had just finished up play and won their state championship game before us. We took the floor and played our game. We lost. But what we didn’t know is that during our basketball game, VHSL officials got together and cancelled the Class 1 boys and girls championships after us that night and made each team co-champs. They also cancelled the boys and girls Class 3,4,5 and 6 championships as well and made them co champs.

So while we were able to play our game, many others lost out on that chance. All because of a virus.

Now I understand the precautions and everything, but I believe that America does not need to live in fear. Do the little things like washing your hands and being clean and sanitary.

This virus, if it is doing anything, is showing America how fast paced our life is and how much we need to slow down. If it is showing us anything else, it is showing us how much time we need to appreciate spending with our friends and family.

For me, it is showing me how much time I devote to the game of basketball and to my work. As a teacher, I put a lot of time in to what I do but just the other day our governor made a proclamation that all K-12 schools in Virginia be closed for two weeks.

So for two weeks, I am going to make the most of it. I am going to spend time with my little girl who is in preschool, I may read a book and I may clean the house and clean out my closet. Do things that I always have wanted to do but haven’t had the time to in the past five months. For those of you whose lives have been put on hold, do not see this virus as a time that has stopped your life. See it as time that God has allowed to spend with those close to you or help those close to you who you may not have been able to help before.

It is like what we told our guys after their game when they found out the other games have been cancelled and the other teams were made co-champs.

There are much bigger things in life than a basketball championship and a basketball tournament.

You were able to do something that many high school players and now many college athletes won’t have the chance to do this year….and that’s play for a championship. Whether you won or lost…. that doesn’t define who you are or what you will do in the future. You gave your heart and soul to your teammates, to all of us coaches and to your community. That’s all you can do. And if you did your best…. that’s all you can be asked to do.

In life, with everything that is going on, all you can do is just do your very best. With everything shutting down….. with all of our favorite things postponing…… even the NCAA Tournament…. maybe this virus will actually allow something to happen.

Maybe we as people can actually step out of the things that consume our lives….. and we can be the people we have always wanted to be.

Maybe if anything this virus will show us how much time we spend behind a computer, a cell phone or a television to get the “info” or “entertainment” we need to satisfy our lives in a world of instant gratification.

The NCAA Tournament is for now lost for the year…… does that mean none of those guys that gave their heart and soul for over 30 games for their school and their fans are not champions? I say no.

Champions are made when no one is looking…… not when everyone is watching.

Be a champion at home…. at work… in your life with your family and friends.

Why not? The one thing that is making people sick and canceling the things in your life is giving you the chance to make the other parts of your life healthy: relationships with your family and with your friends…. so here is your chance.

In the words of Notre Dame……

Go be a Champion……… Today!

By Shannon Boy

Male. 45 yrs old Raised in mountains of Southwest Virginia. Currently living in the hills of East Tennessee.. JV boys basketball head coach / Varsity assistant at Gate City HS in Gate City, Virginia. Social Studies teacher at Scott Co. Alternative Education Center. Love the beach, hiking, biking, running, lifting, camping, fishing, road trips, thunderstorms, Chinese food and all kinds of music and movies. Virginia Class 2 State Champions for 2018!