Hansen: Sports really aren't going to go away, and neither are our ideas and our coverage

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

Today I was going to write about what coach Brian Kelly’s priority list might look like when Notre Dame football picked up after its planned 11-day hiatus for spring break on Tuesday.

Then a piece Tuesday afternoon on my impressions of Tommy Rees and his vision for the Irish offense after his first meeting with the media since being promoted to ND’s offensive coordinator on Jan. 14.

Then a live chat, a catchup with former Irish wide receiver Corey Robinson and his new role with NBC, another Pod of Gold podcast, and whatever else the normal cycle of spring football churned up.

Some of those stories will still happen, and sooner than later. COVID-19 won’t dictate everything on our sports pages and our website in the coming weeks.

Yet today it had led me down a path I never anticipated traversing since I accidentally stumbled out of being a business major in college four decades ago into a passion of sports writing that I never saw coming.

The toilet paper aisle.

I haven’t yet grasped why there is a connection between the coronavirus and toilet paper hoarding. And I’m at that point, I prefer not to be nudged out of my confusion.

I suppose in a phase of social distancing, the lack of toilet paper might make that concept easier to execute.

It still hasn’t overtaken my curiosity about how to obtain a blue checkmark on Twitter. … which I do intend to get to the bottom of, and soon.

As a sports staff, we’ll continue to forge to get to the bottom of things that matter to you. The people who play the games, their stories, their dreams — both broken and realized — have always been more compelling than the scores and stats.

On Friday, admittedly lured to our office by the promise of free pizza by our new sports editor (Michael Wanbaugh), Tom Noie, Carter Karels, Tyler James and I plotted out what the next steps in coverage with no games should look like.

The only reason I wasn’t stunned by the quantity and quality of ideas is because I see it every day from them. And you’ll continue to see it until and beyond when the games return.

Not all of the stories will have a coronavirus bent. We all need some normalcy.

In the meantime, we welcome your ideas as well. We’re not married to the concept of “staying in our lanes.”

I promised myself this wouldn’t turn into a “sports unites us, distracts us” piece, and it won’t. You already know that. I will humbly offer a couple of suggestions that I find amusing when I need a viewing distraction from sports.

• The Food Network. We’re not talking about the step-by-step cooking shows. This is about shows like Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay, that already have a sports feel to them.

There are winners and losers, oppressive time deadlines and people talking smack. The network even has a show — Guy Fieri’s Tournament of Champions — in which 16 competitors are placed into a bracket and seeded.

Spoiler alert, one of the No.1 seeds is already out.

• Carpool Karaoke. It’s a recurring segment on the Late Late Show with James Corden, but you can find all of the episodes on YouTube.

In this case, there really isn’t a sports connection at all, but it has greatly expanded my music tastes and knowledge beyond my ‘70s-’80s comfort zone.

• The Voice: This brings the music element of Carpool Karaoke and the competition element from the Food Network shows into one place.

I’ve also learned a lot of new concepts that I never knew existed from this singing competition, such as “head voice”, “pitchy” and “runs.”

One diversion that I would not be welcome for myself during this time is a long, windy email asking me to answer a series of questions that would require hours of research and that would interest no one else but that particular person.

In fact, when sports come back full throttle, it’s not a welcome occurrence, either.

And sports will be back full throttle.

How do I know this, you ask? Let’s call it a sign.

Thursday night, during my regular grocery store run, not only did I find toilet paper and the particular brand I always buy, it was on sale.

Planes fly over Notre Dame Stadium before the ND-USC football game on Oct. 12.