When I talked with The Daily Independent sports editor Zack Klemme about what you’re reading here, the original subject was 12 years covering sports as a freelance contributor.

By itself, it would’ve been an exceedingly trivial, unimportant and inconsequential topic.

No, I’m not the most learned about COVID-19, but I nonetheless grieve for the people who have contracted coronavirus.

I pray for the families of those who have passed away.

I want to figuratively Gibbs-slap (look it up, non-NCIS-watching folks) the University of Texas students who spent spring break in Mexico and tested positive for coronavirus.

And I hope Florida authorities throw the library at Rodney Howard-Browne, the Hillsborough County megachurch pastor who allegedly endangered his congregation by holding services in violation of social-distancing orders.

It’s time to breathe.

Some say I have a penchant for including song titles and lyrics (the more obscure the better) to illustrate things I see in a game. I do, so here are a few.

The most relevant tune I could find was created after all this started. Claire and Mel Vatz of Pittsburgh came up with “We’re All Home Bound,” their duet adaptation of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound.”

The 1999 tune “I Love the Unknown” from the alt-country band Clem Snide engenders significant disagreement here. Some certainty — the Sweet Sixteen boys and girls high school basketball tournaments, high school and college spring sports, a heaping helping of March Madness, Wimbledon, some NBA, MLB, NHL, NASCAR, NHRA and the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo — would’ve been nice.

Instead, it’s the Temptations’ “Ball of Confusion.” All the aforementioned either canceled altogether or postponed.

With no band to play on.

You’ve endured much kvetching, but the overwhelming majority of my time writing about northeastern Kentucky sports has been nothing short of joyous.

It’s a list of highlights longer than the name of a Christine Lavin song from 1994: the 97-word “Regretting What I Said to You When You Called Me 11:00 On a Friday Morning to Tell Me that at 1:00 Friday Afternoon You’re Gonna Leave Your Office, Go Downstairs, Hail a Cab to Go Out to the Airport to Catch a Plane to Go Skiing in the Alps for Two Weeks, Not that I Wanted to Go With You, I Wasn’t Able to Leave Town, I’m Not a Very Good Skier, I Couldn’t Expect You to Pay My Way, But After Going Out With You for Three Years I DON’T Like Surprises!! Subtitled: A Musical Apology.”

There’s Ashland’s boys basketball team that rolled to a 33-0 record this season, and the Kittens who won four straight 16th Region crowns from 2011-12 to 14-15.

There’s Johnson Central’s football Class 4A state champions in 2016 and ’19 and West Carter reaching the third round of the Class 2A football playoffs for the first time in school history.

There’s the Raceland volleyball team’s four straight region crowns from 2012-15. Jason Clark started the run, and now-Ashland coach Sarah Linn finished it.

There’s Elliott County’s three consecutive boys basketball titles from 2007-09 and 2015-17.

There’s perseverance through pain: Rowan County’s coping with the deaths of baseball coach Keith Prater, basketball/baseball star Justin Graham, longtime coach Ed Jones and most recently, Hunter “Coach” Mitchell; and West Carter mourning the loss of beloved scorekeeper Baxter Stevens.

And oh, the individual excellence. Among them: Montana Fouts, softball, East Carter and now the University of Alabama; 2019 Miss Basketball Savannah Wheeler; Promise Cross, Rowan County track and field; Kailee Perry, Morgan County cross country and track and field; Logan Salow, Ashland, baseball; A.J. Hacker and Cam Planck.

A caveat: Please forgive me for unintentionally omitting someone, but if you want to grill me on social media, don’t forget the Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce.

One last thing: The coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic is testing my Christian faith, but I rely on Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:31-32, 34 (Christian Standard Bible): “So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. … Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Stay safe. Maintain the 6-foot social distance. Wash your hands.

All y’all.

Ray Schaefer is a Maysville-based freelance writer. Follow him on Twitter @JustRaySchaefer.

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