At least, that is what it seems like. Meade Stadium sat still last Saturday afternoon on what was the perfect October day in New England. The University of Rhode Island Soccer Complex didn’t need its lights flicked upwards for the nightcap, and Sunday afternoon saw no grass chunks turn out of the ground from a crunching tackle.

I never realized how much I took for granted; being able to walk past these events and games happening, let alone covering them as a member of the media. I’d do almost anything to hear a player question a referee or watch a fan dodge an incoming souvenir that left the field of play unexpectedly. It seems like none of that is happening.

To a certain extent, yes; it is quiet. There is nothing in the box score to write about right now at the University, but that doesn’t mean preparation isn’t getting underway.

Right now, every team is trying to improvise the best they can for whenever competition can resume. In the past 6 weeks, one thing that the Good Five-Cent Cigar has repeatedly found out from coaches and athletes is that practice ain’t like it used to be. Needed protocols can be found everywhere, and they are all bound together by one common thing.

Hope.

Hope for seasons being able to get going. Hope for student-athletes, families, coaches, staff and administrators to stay healthy and safe during these trying times. 

Not the most important, but perhaps the most tangible thing, is the hope that all this time is used to prepare as best as possible to win. 

The prospect of coming out of this pandemic with a win is an idea so tantalizing, it surely is driving coaches all around the country crazy. As inactivity grows older, the optimism for a positive outlook ages the same.

Of course, every coach who has had their season curtailed will be thinking the same way. The amount of film that has been broken down by them during this period of no competing may be able to save the movie theater industry if coaches were charged $1 per play they’ve watched.

Innovation is also something that I cannot wait to see once we get to watch student-athletes again. Take basketball for example. All that players could really do from March to May was shoot, and any great shooter says they have gotten to master the skill through constant hours of repetition. Three pointers are already taking over college basketball; we may see them hit with even more regularity than before.

The serve power on tennis is going to be more impactful than ever. Goalies will be punting the ball farther up the pitch. Footwork for wide receivers will be even cleaner. The list goes on and on.

It may not look like student-athletes on the surface are doing anything during this time off, but between hope and innovation, the return to competition is worth the wait.