Kaua‘i sports start the process of a return to normalcy

Chicago Sun-Times sports columnist Rick Telander couldn’t have more eloquently painted the picture of the changing landscape of sports, referring to games as an “orbiting disc.”

Indeed, sports, our culture, and the economy are undergoing a facelift in the wake of this worldwide pandemic.

Returning to “normalcy” will be a long-standing process, but there is an end in sight.

Starting with recreational sports like golf, tennis, pickleball and the reopening of health clubs, we saw a glimpse into the old world.

With COVID-19 still exploding in multiple mainland states, who knows how long this will last?

It was hard not to live vicariously through the recreational players’ joy, especially when no significant professional, big-four leagues to do so with right now.

Who needs television, right?

This week will provide another welcomed addition to a return to this pre-COVID-19 world.

We have the first wave of competitive sports returning the island: Kaua’i Senior Softball and paddling competitions are set to return.

Senior softballer Jerry Miccolis finished his book during quarantine, “The Boys of Late Summer,” detailing the team camaraderie and therapeutic value of the sport as inspiration for his 35,000-word book.

More information on this book will be published in Thursday’s edition of The Garden Island.

The Kaua‘i senior softballer admits he may not have progressed through the book’s completion had it not been for the lockdown.

“Being locked down was torture,” Miccolis said. “One of the things that I learned is that you had to be dedicated to staying in shape, and we are all over 60 playing ball regularly.”

In spring 2017, I had a conversation with former University of Nebraska tight end Mark Gilman in Polson, Montana, at the Shrine Bowl introduction ceremony, about coping with the loss of competition.

The introduction was hosted by former St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks special-teamer Chase Reynolds, and the old voice of the University of Montana Grizzlies, announcer Mick Holien.

The premise of the conversation was about coping with loss.

It is hard to replace the surging adrenaline rush of two-hour game days and two-a-days.

This was something my uncle Tom Runkle, who played football at Arizona State University during the Frank Kush era, struggled with after his playing days.

He channeled his energy into his artwork and found competitive fire in his later days in Austin, Texas.

This is precisely what Miccolis did during the lockdown, and the result is a completed book project that is climbing the Amazon Book charts.

“As luck would have it, the lockdown gave me the time I needed to do all of the grunt work to get this book published,” Miccolis admits. “I substituted my passion of playing for getting this book out. If it weren’t for the self-quarantine, I might not have gotten this book published.”

It will is great to see the seniors’ competition and the paddlers paddling.

Hopefully, the competitors soak up every moment because, in this world, everything comes with an asterisk, *subject to change.

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Jason Blasco, sports reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or jblasco@thegardenisland.com.

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