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Life Goes On (Well, Sort Of); Mailbag: Readers Respond

With the sports world virtually closed down because of the coronavirus pandemic, there isn’t much to write about.

It seems the real world has once again invaded our beloved toy department.

And this time, the international health crisis is dominating everyone’s thoughts and actions. Rightfully so.

College and professional sports have responded appropriately, if a bit belatedly. With the cancellation of the eagerly anticipated men’s and women’s NCAA Basketball Tournaments, millions of us are now dealing with March Sadness rather than March Madness.

Likewise, the opening of the baseball season, the NBA, the Masters, the NHL, soccer…everything either postponed or cancelled other than the macho dudes in the UFC. The Warriors’ bright and shiny new Chase Center stands empty.

NFL Madness: Still, a little greed-fueled insanity prevails. In the middle of all this, the NFL announces the addition of a 17th regular season game.

Sure, let’s get some more players injured. As long as the owners are safe in their luxury boxes counting their money, all is right with the world.

Mailbag: My previous two posts about the coronavirus—and our president’s profoundly incompetent response to it—stimulated more than the usual volume of email and text messages. All but one were highly complimentary.

There were a whole lot of “Go Biden” responses, reflecting my endorsement of former vice-president Joe Biden in a commentary in the San Francisco Chronicle.

There was a congratulatory note from an old friend: “Very well done Gary! I wish every one in the country could read it. Your piece is such a clear and damning summary of this fool’s incompetence—it would make great campaign commercial material—as in, is this who you want leading our country?”

This from a top Bay Area broadcaster: “Maybe your best post ever.”

And this from a former Stanford football great, a self-described disaffected Republican: “We can only hope that his blatantly self-serving response to this pandemic on a nationally televised address will finally unmask him for the egomaniacal narcissist he is, and not the leader we all deserve in this time of crisis.”

The lone dissenter, also an ex-Stanford gridder, took issue with my “far left” perspective that might “further polarize” our divided nation.

This fellow represents the more typical conservative political leanings of sports types (which make up a large part of my subscriber list). During my 40 years in the business, I was often one of the few moderates or liberals present at any gathering.

Several years ago, at a bowl meeting with about 150 conference commissioners, athletic directors, coaches, and bowl executives, College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock turned to me and said, “Gary, you realize, we’re probably the only two Democrats in this room.”

Bill might’ve been exaggerating. There were probably a half dozen of us.

Years ago, a survey of the top golfers in the PGA turned up just one Democrat—David Duvall. The numbers would be similar in baseball, maybe a bit more evenly split in football and certainly basketball.

For the record, I’m not “far left,” having voted Republican many times in my life before the Grand Old Party was taken over by Trump and his cult. I’ve also been quite critical of Bernie Sanders and that ilk.

However, Trump’s cult members immediately cast anyone who disagrees with their boy as either a “socialist,” a “radical” or “far left.” Or sometimes other lovely names that can’t be printed in this space.

Suffice to say I’ve been the recipient of some disgusting name calling on Twitter from indignant Trump and Sanders faithful.

My main problems with the current occupant of the White House aren’t issue-related. I can rationally discuss differences of opinion on health care, defense spending, taxes, climate change, education, etc.

But there are two issues where I can’t see the other side…at all: 1) people who oppose sensible gun control, and 2) people who still think Donald Trump is fit to be president.

He’s not.

Perhaps the one good thing about the coronavirus is that it has exposed him as an incompetent fool. About 65 percent of Americans already knew that, but now pretty much everyone outside of Fox News does.

With a deadly pandemic taking more lives every day, the president—who cluelessly closed the country's global health office two years ago—has spent the last month denying or downplaying the severity of the virus, claiming warm weather would fix it, contradicting his own experts, lying about the availability of testing, making absurd promises about vaccines, and patting himself on the back.

Then, suddenly, the virus he had called a Democrat hoax just a few weeks ago became a national emergency.

Well, better late than ever.

Hopefully, the combination of federal support and the measures in the House bill passed by his nemesis Nancy Pelosi, will contain and ultimately defeat the virus and restore some economic stability.

Then we can all stop hoarding toilet paper and get back to watching baseball, the Masters, and hopefully, the NBA Playoffs.

Gary Cavalli - Bowl and League co-founder, author, speaker 

Gary Cavalli, the former Sports Information Director and Associate Athletic Director at Stanford University, was co-founder and executive director of the college football bowl game played in the Bay Area, and previously was co-founder and President of the American Basketball League.

Get in touch//@cavalli49//

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