Like many other red-blooded, sports-loving Americans, March Madness is probably my favorite time of year.
I have a routine of waking up early, putting on "The Price is Right" and drinking coffee on the first Thursday of the tournament in anticipation of the full day of incredible action to come.
Well that Thursday came and went yesterday, and while I've come to accept the world of sports hiatus we currently live in, that left a hole.
Even on Selection Sunday, it was weird not seeing a bracket released and fruitlessly filling out my picks only to tear the whole thing up after the first round, but it didn't really hit me then.
Even on Tuesday and Wednesday, when the First Four games are usually played in Dayton, Ohio, it didn't feel like something was missing.
Thursday felt like something was missing.
It took me a second to really figure out just what that was. I went through my new morning routine of popping open Twitter to see the latest news on the coronavirus front while drinking coffee and half-listening to whatever they are saying on SportsCenter to fill the air.
In the back of my mind, it felt like I had forgotten something. Then a friend of mine from college, who participated in the sacred first-Thursday ritual in past years, sent me a message saying how weird today was.
That's when it hit me like a ton of bricks.
No buzzer-beaters. No Cinderellas. No brackets. Just dead air.
It's been a little more than a week since the coronavirus brought the sports world to its knees, and every day the lack of sports has seemed more and more normal. Thursday reset those lost feelings for me, and it left an NCAA Tournament-sized crater in my sports-loving soul.
There are so many more important things going on in the world right now that even thinking about how much I miss the tournament feels selfish, but I can't help it. And I don't think its bad to feel that way, either.
There's no doubt in my mind the sports world will recover from this whole ordeal, and the world in general will rise together when we have kicked this nasty virus.
Next year's tournament will be one for the ages. Until then, I'll continue watching highlights and reminiscing on tournaments past.