There is no “i” in “team”, but there is in “quarantine.”
You think you miss sports? Having something to draw your focus from the existential wasteland that is existence on this earth (if you’re me)? Or just something to entertain and distract you during COVID-19 coronavirus isolation? Your favorite athlete misses sports more. They are booorrreeeddd, you guys. So bored. And fortunately, for all the ills of social media, there is also a huge upside: they’re taking to the sosh to tell you just how bored they are. Mark Cuban even commented on the rise of athletes exploring their boredom online.
This makes sense: people who are conditioned to work as part of a team and work out with each other and joke and mess with each other while devoting 110% of their time and energy to being the best athlete they can possibly be need an outlet for that energy. Or a more relatable take: athletes are bouncing off the walls with cabin fever just like your average person is.
The whole impetus for this article was my husband letting me know that sports media Twitter found out former NHLer Brooks Laich challenges others to his workouts. For most of our married life my husband has heard me yell at my phone, while refusing to unfollow Brooks, “WE GET IT! YOU WORK OUT! FFS!” at Laich’s stories on the ‘gram. So. Much. Working. Out.
But now, apparently, working from home, not having any sports to cover, sports media Twitter has found Laich’s workout challenges and started doing them. I thought about doing it for funsies, to see how I would manage, to create content for you lovely people, took one look at the minute-long video and went back to being the lazy house cat that I am. A pushup with dumbbell lifts and burpies? Absolutely not, no, thank you. (He’s also now doing the “Social Distancing Olympics,” with event 1 being “bake your favorite thing your mom ever made you,” as pictured above.)
Laich is far from the only athlete or ex-athlete doing unusual things on social media these days, though, and some of the others are from his former team, the Washington Capitals. Thanks to Russian Machine Never Breaks, we know that Capitals’ forward Nicklas Bäckström took on goaltending duties against his toddler, who with the flow and the stick handling will likely have a spot on the Swedish National Team by the time the quarantine is lifted, even as a tiny tot. His dad did not give him an easy time though, making a glove save that prompted teammate Tom Wilson to joke about Bäckström taking over as emergency goalie.
Not to be outdone by his teammate, Alex Ovechkin is also on the bike in his home gym, and then watching his young son play ball in the house. When your dad is one of the greatest NHL players ever, you don’t get yelled at about playing inside, MOM. (I would like to talk at length about the trophy case in the game room.)
And even if they’re not working out, they wanna talk to you. Lawd, they wanna talk to you. As an introvert, I’m starting to begin to understand the gaping maw of need that my extrovert friends suffer from.
Celebs are doing live chats or ask me anythings and showing you what they’re cooking. Maisie Williams, of Game of Thrones, lives with a chef who made cacio e pepe with homemade from-scratch pasta. Thursday saw them move on to donuts. Schitt’s Creek‘s Dan Levy has been giving us insight into his cooking as well, and Thursday, he made egg salad.
Or you could follow LeBron around as he…meditates? Carli Lloyd did a Q&A on Fox Soccer. Sue Bird is challenging people to dribble contests. Ja Morant made his own hype walk out video, because why the fuck not? And Alex Rodriguez did a live chat with Project Destined about real estate. Sure. That’ll be helpful and relatable in these dark times. A-Rod, always with his finger on the pulse of the everyman. And Giannis Antetokounmpo is learning to play guitar with the down time, with less than enthusiastic feedback from his girlfriend.
It’s not all just to feed their need to connect and remain busy, however. Both Busy Philipps and Abigail Spencer have joined Cameo to raise money for those feeding us in this time of crisis. And Jojo changed the words of her all-time bop Leave (Get Out) to Stay In about the coronavirus. Heed her words. And for you parents, Kristen Bell is *in* this with you.
We get that this is a very fraught and stressful time, but there are also jokes, because we all need a little levity. Because I’m under shelter in place orders with him, my husband and I wondered what ridiculous stories we’ll get about this year in a decade’s time, from the sports perspective. I said Alabama is going to claim every national title that wasn’t contested this year as theirs. Golf, gym, baseball, track? “We champions, Paaawwwl!” He joked we’ll get a story on how but for the pandemic-altered season, this, THIS, was the year a 32-year-old Tim Tebow would have become the breakout rookie star for the Mets. If only it wasn’t taken away from him! Which of course led into us joking about how the support group from Avengers: Endgame was a little more on the nose than anyone could have predicted with their ‘I miss the Mets’ comment.
But really, the only sports figure you should truly be listening to is (bias alert) LSU football coach Ed Orgeron telling you to follow the game plan. Stay indoors, everyone. Stay safe. Stay sane. And if you’re in the mood, dance it out with Debbie Allen. (Yes, I am absolutely taking beginner ballet for kids with THE Debbie Allen. It’s coronavirus season, you can’t tell anyone shit, as long as they stay indoors and don’t infect other people.)
[Brooks Laich on Instagram]