Sportsaholics are missing the sight of seeing 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid competing. — AP PHOTO FILE

Sportsaholics are missing the sight of seeing 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid competing. — AP PHOTO FILE

Hi. My name is Daryl and I am a recovering sportsaholic.

This hasn’t been easy to admit so excuse me if my thoughts go off on a tangent at times. In an effort to be transparent, my muddled ideologies can be confusing. But I’ve been told that’s OK. I’ve been informed that it’s a part of the recovery process. And there’s no question that I am in a recovering mode.

For me, I guess you can say that it all began on March 11, 2020. I’m not alone. That date is important to many sportsaholics, gamblers and admirers of athletics. On that date, the NBA suspended its season after Rudy Goubert, an All-Star center for the Utah Jazz, tested positive for the coronavirus. The following day it was revealed Jazz All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell also contracted COVID-19.

From that point on, it’s been a steady stream of sports postponements, cancellations and announcements all centered around the coronavirus. On March 12, the NCAA announced that the Division I men’s and women’s 2020 basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships, were canceled because of the COVID-19 public health threat.

Then came the NHL, which has had players diagnosed with COVID-19, with an announcement it was going to suspend its season. Major League Baseball then canceled the remainder of its Spring Training games and announced the start of the 2020 regular season will be delayed by at least two weeks. Opening Day was originally scheduled for Thursday, March 26. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended that gatherings of 50 people or more be canceled or postponed across the country for the next eight weeks.

Throw in other alphabet organizations such as the PGA, NASCAR and MLS canceling or postponing events and it’s no wonder why many gamblers and sportsaholics have been forced to go cold turkey.

Going through sports withdrawal isn’t easy. Heavy doses of ESPN reruns only worsen the condition. It’s difficult to feign surprise at the outcome of the 1985 Georgetown-Villanova NCAA championship game when you already know the score. It’s difficult to watch the Eagles use the Philly Special on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII when you know Nick Foles will be wide open and will not drop the pass in the end zone.

Don’t get me wrong — it’s a nice feeling to watch an elated Tiger Woods earn his fifth Master’s green jacket. However, reality quickly finds a seat at the table when you realize a spring tradition has been postponed indefinitely. The Masters, which dates to 1934, has never been played outside of March or April. For years, it has held firm with ending on the second Sunday of April. That won’t be the case in 2020.

The same could be said for the beloved Penn Relays. For the first time since its inception 125 years ago, the oldest and largest track and field competition in the United States has been canceled. This year, the Penn Relays were going to honor the 100-year anniversary of HBCUs participating. The first HBCUs to do so were Lincoln University, Cheyney State College and Howard University.

In its place, the University of Pennsylvania will try to host a substitute track meet in late May or early June. It will be a nice gesture, but it won’t be the same.

I miss the thrill of victory.

I miss the agony of defeat.

I miss the human drama of athletic competition.

I miss sports.

dbell@phillytrib.com (215) 893-5746

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