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The struggle is real, and I’m not just talking about basketball and Netflix

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Working from home and missing out on live basketball is just the tip of the iceberg for how we’re suffering from the coronavirus.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Detroit Pistons Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

No basketball. No other-sports-I-watch-when-theres-no-basketball. No house parties. No bars. No restaurants. No social life. No movie theaters. And even at home: no kids to keep me young/insane, and no partner at the moment.

Just me.

Thanks, worldwide pandemic.

This “just me” is even creeping into my professional life. I’ve always disliked working from home. I’m a visual person — I need to see and interact with people to get the best out of myself and out of them. I like being at work. Yet now, that’s all gone. Skype, webex, Google Hangouts. Yeah they work, but I can’t see faces, reactions or body language. I can’t get a read of the room, to make sure we’re all engaged and getting the most out of each interaction.

Yet because of the pandemic, I am now working from home. We will be collectively less effective this way. But it’s better than dying, or causing someone else to die because we were an unwitting carrier.

The best possible way to tamp down the spread of this virus is for each of us to hole up alone for the foreseeable future. Only dumb people would search out social interactions.

I’m not gonna lie. This is a struggle. I don’t like being home alone.

You think it fazes me that the Suns suck? Not in the least. There’s no woe-is-me energy left to complain about a bunch of basketball players who can’t make a basket.

Whether they won or lost, at least I got to watch basketball. And report on it to thousands of readers a day. And talk about it on a podcast to thousands of listeners a week. Even the blog and pod are secondary to being able to experience live NBA basketball, listen to the squeak of the shoes, the roar of the crowd (yes, sometimes only for the free t-shirts), the raw joy or disappointment first-hand from the players and coaches.

Basketball is what got me through what were otherwise some of the toughest times of my life. And when basketball wasn’t on, other sports carried the torch. And house parties. And happy hour with the boys. And movies. And restaurants. And work, even. I love my job, and the people I work with.

But that’s all gone now.

My kids are grown. Partners come and go. We’re social distancing to an extreme level I’ve never seen in my lifetime.

Sad for me yet?

DON’T BE

Don’t be sad for me, and people like me, who walk around bitching and moaning about “working from home” and how we can’t go to our favorite restaurant, or see that play or concert we’ve been waiting for.

Don’t be sad for people who are gainfully employed, with a bank of PTO (paid time off) to use if they happen to get sick.

BE SAD for those who are actually sick. Too many of them will die from this.

BE SAD for those who are now out of work and might not be able to pay their bills, and as a result might end up homeless.

BE SAD for those whose very lives depend on the existence of social gatherings.

Ushers, waiters, tenders, cooks, box officers, security, concessionaires, small business owners, and dozens more professions who have zero income if there are zero patrons looking for a gathering of people.

Please, get over healthy yourself and do what you can to help others in need. Be aware of your surroundings. Spend less time complaining about having to binge watch even more shows on Netflix or Hulu or whatever other streaming service you’ve got. Spend more time noticing the real struggles of the people around you.

Whenever you can share with others, do it.

We can get all through this together, but only if we think outside ourselves and help the suffering.

Support the mom-and-pops. You can’t dine in at your favorite restaurant, but you can pick up the food curbside. Or order contact-less delivery. Or buy a gift certificate on their website.

That’s just the start. Think about the little guy and gal. More ideas will come if you just put your mind to it.