Editor's note: Like you, Bay Area athletes and NBC Sports Bay Area insiders, reporters and analysts are feeling the sports void during the coronavirus stoppage. They'll share their thoughts twice a week in "What I Miss About Sports." Next up in the series: Kings sideline reporter Kayte Hunter.
The world feels like it is in complete disarray. The impact of the coronavirus pandemic have caused unprecedented actions forcing restaurants and bars to close, employees are working from home, schools are shut down, and the world of sports has come to a complete standstill.
Sports is a business. A massive business that employees millions of people throughout the world. I am one of those people.
When we found out that the NBA was suspending games due to the first NBA player testing positive for COVID-19, it threw the world that I work in into a state of the unknown. Never before has this happened in the history of the league.
It was the responsible thing to do. The only thing to do.
But the thing about sports is that they have forever been an escape from the sometimes harsh realities of the world. So to say that I miss sports is an understatement.
It’s not just that I miss being on the sidelines or in the NBC Sports Bay Area studios. I miss the excitement of the hunt. The Kings had 18 games remaining on their regular season schedule and they were in the thick of the battle for the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference.
This team was coming into their own. They were showing who we all thought they had the capability of being when the 2019-20 season started. They had endured a rash of major injuries that kept key players out for long stretches. There was a point in the season in January when things seemed to be hopeless. But then things started to shift.
There was a lineup change and moves heading into the trade deadline. It was like they suddenly had been given a lifeline and momentum started to build. There were new career highs.
First Buddy Hield in Minnesota after the Kings came back from an unthinkable deficit with less than four minutes in the fourth quarter to win on the road. Then a huge win on the road in Los Angeles against the Clippers behind a career night from De’Aaron Fox.
There was a synergy building.
And then suddenly the world came to a halt. And my world, the NBA, became frozen in time. No games. No indication when or if things will pick up again.
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High school playoffs ... cancelled.
I won a California Division V State Championship at Arco Arena in 1998. That experience is something that I will never forget. And now I think of all the kids that have worked so hard to try and attain that same goal. There is a moment of time that is stolen from them.
March Madness was canceled.
I participated in the NCAA tournament all four years in college. It’s THE thing that you work for. It’s where you know that anything can happen. The Cinderella stories. The little guys taking down the giants. The entire country becomes invested. People that haven’t watched a college game all season are filling out brackets and are glued to their TVs.
Sports has that ability to bring people together.
There is no telling what will happen with the NBA season as we wait to discover what the fate of this season will be.
But as we wait, there are so many things that I miss.
It’s not just the hunt for the playoffs and seeing players step up and find ways to win that I mentioned earlier. Those are things that are a common denominator for everyone that are sports fans.
I miss the little things that nobody else sees or knows.
I miss the routine. Prepping and crunching numbers. Trying to figure out how to highlight players, stats, stories that are important and unique in each and every game.
I miss the interactions with the people. The security guards in the tunnel where my table is. Reggie has been in the tunnel by my table since Golden 1 Center has opened. I miss his jokes and sarcastic humor. His conversations about the kids at the high school in Vacaville where he works.
I miss eating in the media lounge before Luke Walton’s press conference. That’s the only part of game day that I get to see Jerry Reynolds and be graced me with his wit, humor and a dive into his basketball genius. But it’s not just Jerry, it’s so many people that you get to see and interact with that make my game day experience what it is.
I miss going into the truck for the five minutes a night to go over the video elements and graphics I will be discussing. Seeing my guys, the guys that I have been working alongside and traveling with for years. My producer Ro, director Birdy (Mike Bird), Houde (Josh) who builds my graphics for me and Justin who edits together my video elements. I miss hearing about their babies, wives, girlfriends, kids playing hockey and all the sarcastic sometimes inappropriate humor that exists within our friendships.
I miss Jim Kozimor. His brilliance and humor. James Ham and his sweater vests!
I miss hearing Grant Napear bring me in for my first hit right before tip-off and the countdown in my ear when we are coming back from break.
The postgame interview with players after a big win.
I miss the studio and the whole staff at NBC Sports Bay Area in San Francisco, and being able to do the pre, halftime and postgame shows.
I miss the conversations with my husband when I get home from work about the game and how his night went with the kids.
I miss it all. I love my job and am so lucky and fortunate to “work” in the NBA and for the Kings.
But most of all, during this bizarre and frightening time, I miss the escape.
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