The last month has been a weird month for the whole world. The COVID-19 quarantine has affected 4.71 million people worldwide in terms of testing positive for the disease. On top of that families, friends, and loved ones have been affected worldwide due to this pandemic. In my personal life if I had to describe this month in one word it would be WOW.
Flashback to April 26th. I was two weeks away from obtaining my Bachelors in Arts with a major in journalism. The Last Dance Documentary was going into part three and four of the series. I received a text from a friend that would ultimately change my life and the direction of these last few weeks.
A close friend of mine passed away in his sleep at the age of 22. I heard the news and immediately felt heartbroken and started grieving. I couldn’t believe my friend who was like a brother to me passed away and that took priority in my mind and what I was doing. A lot of people suggested for me to take a break and tell my professors the news.
My friend stood for positivity and happiness. Anywhere he went he had a smile on his face. Any room he went into he was able to spark positivity and a laugh to the people. When we were on our second trip to Eastern Illinois University he looked at me and said, ” What are you thinking?” I replied no idea. At the time I thought I wouldn’t be in the position to where I was at in my writing and graduation. He instilled in me that vision.
So that week with term papers, preparing for finals, my birthday, and trying to finish up senior year of college I just kept thinking wow. I thought of him and as I finished my assignments and turned them in I would look up and think of him. As I knew I had gained a guardian angel in my friend.
During this The Last Dance has been going on ESPN. My mother doesn’t get the power of sports at its purest form. Sports is an escape for people and while we do not have live sports I used The Last Dance two hour premieres as an escape from my finals and grieving to relieve myself. Mind you I found out the news during the third episode and it took me a couple days to go back and watch them.
First off wow to that whole 10-part documentary. In the coming weeks I will be crafting a blog that encompasses all of my analysis and details on this package of one of the greatest dynasties sports has ever seen. For those two hours the past three Sunday nights I’ve been able to learn more on this dynasty revolving the greatest basketball player of all-time in Michael Jordan.
Jordan’s last parts in these weeks were around the grieving of his father, the relationship between him and my hero Kobe Bryant, and the finishing of the 1998 NBA season that resulted in his sixth championship. Thank you to Jason Hehir and ESPN for bringing us this documentary,
Now flashback to real life. My professors understood, but I wanted to funnel my grief into a successful product. I studied and wrote my term papers with precise focus. I looked at my finals and set goals for myself of what I could achieve on those finals while still in the back of my mind thinking of my friend.
I came out of that hard week with all As and Bs on finals and midterms. I turned 23 and at the same time had to go back to a place that had a special meaning in our lives the day of the visitation. I looked up in the sky on my drive home and said thank you. A few days later I received news of my graduation from Eastern Illinois University.
For a kid who was diagnosed with autism at the age of three it was the perfect storybook ending to my scholarly career. I was predicted by doctors to never even graduate high school let alone college. I was never supposed to amount to anything. This last year I was able to cover sports for my school’s newspaper and receive opportunities of covering a Division I basketball playoff tournament and meeting a World Series closing pitcher from my childhood in Jason Motte of the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals. I grieved the passing of my hero Kobe Bryant and then handled the heartbreak and piece of losing a dear friend. Through it all I was able to dedicate to those two and countless others the best ending to my scholarly career. A bachelors degree in Journalism with a concentration in sports media while maintaining a B average. Something I never envisioned myself doing.
COVID-19 has been tragic to us all. We all want the world to go back to normal. The things I’ve heard in the last few weeks have been truly wow moments. People are grieving, living in fear with a loved one who might not make it, and people complain about wearing a mask of all things. It is our duty to our loved one and ones we lost to stay as positive as possible.
Find ways to escape. Sports is one of many. There’s music, religion, tv shows, movies, reading, etc. that can help you through this. Find a way to honor everyone. Lets turn this wow moment into something we can be proud of and continue to instill in humanity in the future.