It’s hard to always look on the bright side of life

It’s hard to always look on the bright side of life

Without question, the best ending to any movie came in the 1979 masterpiece “Monty Python’s Life of Brian.”

As a group of guys sat hopelessly on their crucifix awaiting death, actor Eric Idle led the way as they sang “Always Look On the Bright Side of Life” until the credits start to roll.

That clearly is a glass-is-half-full approach to a very bad situation. Like with so many people with that ideology, they also appear to have a less-than-steady grasp of reality.

Last week, I was called out publicly for taking the opposite approach when it came to a tweet about the Frontier Conference announcing it was moving volleyball season to the spring because of the coronavirus.

Here’s what I tweeted:

Just so you know, any sports postponed to spring will also not happen in the spring. The virus is not going away that quickly, and the final decisions are just getting kicked down the road a bit.

I would have preferred to be optimistic about the news. An unfortunate grasp of reality in this case, however, prevents me from whistling and singing about the situation.

The sad thing is that I almost always take a glass-is-half-full approach when it comes to sports. Sometimes that optimism so strong that it is probably certifiably insane.

I have literally gone into every NFL season since 1985 believing with all of my heart that the Chicago Bears will win the Super Bowl.

Like 100 percent sure of it.

In October of 2004, I told Nick Badovinac that the Red Sox would beat the Yankees in the American League Championship Series, and that was within a couple hours of Boston falling into 3-0 hole that was insurmountable.

I believed it, too. Ask Nick if you do not want to take my word for it.

The Red Sox had Derek Lowe in Game 4, then Pedro Martinez in Game 5, I told him. I just knew Curt Schilling was going to come through in a big way in Game 6.

Was that confidence founded in reality, or does it just prove that even the most cockeyed optimist gets lucky sometimes?

It does not really matter now.

My attitude was even very glass-is-half-full at the beginning of this pandemic. For weeks, I thought that we would be able to have some kind of a a high school spring sports season in Montana, and championships would be decided in softball, track, tennis and golf.

Even after that did not happen, I took it as a very good sign that American Legion baseball started playing at the end of May.

Surely, I figured, if it is safe to play baseball at the end of May, it will be safe enough to play football, volleyball and soccer by the end of August.

At the time, we only had 11 total cases of the coronavirus in Silver Bow County, and it had been nearly two months since we had a new case reported.

While I figured the crowd would be far from capacity, I was mostly sure that we would be playing high school, college and professional football this fall.

Anyone who believed the same by the time the calendar turned to August, was as silly as those guys on the cross singing that catchy tune.

Sometime today, we expect the Big Ten and the Pac-12 conferences will announce the cancelation of their football seasons — or at least the postponement until the spring.

And this is only the beginning of the dominoes falling when it comes to football.

When teams like Ohio State, Michigan and Oregon do not think that they can safely play football in the midst of this pandemic, what hope do we have for smaller conferences or high schools?

Those major colleges have the money to routinely test players, coaches and other football staff members. Schools in the Frontier Conference? Well, not so much.

High school teachers have to spend their own money for classroom supplies. Do you think they have enough left over to pay for COVID-19 tests?

If Oregon and their Nike money cannot give it a go, how could high school administrators anywhere, in good conscience, even think about trying?

This is not to say that I do not want football or other sports to be played this fall. Believe me, I do.

I want fall sports to be played more than most. As a sportswriter, my livelihood depends on it. My sanity could also very well depend on football being played.

As it stands, it is just too hard to see that happening.

The NFL will at least start the season, and the SEC just might throw common sense into the wind and play ball. That might just about be it when it comes to pigskin in 2020.

By the time the Montana High School Association announced that the season would be a go two weeks ago, my glass was way past half empty.

After seeing this weekend that people from this community are part of the 250,000 or so rocket surgeons who rode their Harleys to Sturges, South Dakota for the big biker rally, my glass was nonexistent.

It shattered as I slammed it into the wall.

Back when I was optimistic, I pleading with people to take this virus seriously so we could play football in the fall.

But we just could not forego our Fourth of July parties and crowded weddings for the overall good of society. We just had to listen to Facebook memes and politicians instead of doctors and scientists.

Now, we are in a real mess. It is hard to have a glass-is-half-full attitude about sports in 2021, let alone the rest of 2020.

With the way the virus is spiking and the amount of people who just do not seem to care, we have little hope that our coronavirus cases will be anything but higher come spring.

If anything, it will probably be safer to play football in October than it will be in March.

Instead of filling up our optimism glass by kicking the decisions down the road, we are simply continuing to dig ourselves a hole that I fear is insurmountable.

This time, we do not have Derek Lowe ready to save us.

— Bill Foley, who is guaranteeing a Bears Super Bowl victory, writes a column that usually appears Tuesdays on ButteSports.com. He is writing more frequently during the coronavirus lockdown. Email him at foley@buttesports.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Foles74.



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