MAC Tournament

The 2020 Womens MAC Tournament in a nearly empty Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken away a lot of things so far in American life. However, I never imagined it would take away my final semester of college. 

On Tuesday, March 10 at 2 p.m., I walked into my last college class at Kent State University: Adulting 101. It was one of my more relaxing classes this semester, but on this day we were on high alert. Kent State University had just announced all face-to-face courses were moving online until April 13. The gravity of the situation had not yet hit me. 

We were informed later that evening the Women’s MAC Basketball Championship was still taking place the following day at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland. I was scheduled to go with my TV2 Sports co-workers Ben Pagani and Jack Berney as well as KentWired’s John Conley and Kathryn Rajnicek. 

I decided to go and I don’t regret it at all.

The next day we walked into a nearly empty Cavs arena. It was an eerie experience as we only saw parents of the players near the court. They made the most of it and cheered for their girls with all their hearts. 

The hallways were barren and hand sanitizer was on every table. As we sat in the catering area, waiting on our KSU ladies to play, it was very somber. All of us media representatives sat silent as we were processing the earth-shattering information we were hearing throughout the day. Once the fourth quarter started, we headed to the court and I tweeted updates on the TV2 KSU Sports Twitter page. 

The first time the ramifications of COVID-19 started to hit me was when it was time for dinner. It was served buffet-style, and it is hard for me to manage my plate and gather my food while using my crutch. Normally when someone asks me if they can help me get my food at buffets I would accept their help. However, this time was different. I felt that based on the circumstances I had to get my food on my own to reduce the risk of spreading germs. This virus makes you question how you do everything in daily life.

The most bizarre part of the night happened midway through the Kent State game. I was live-tweeting the game, and I saw a livestream of ESPN on my screen. I was confused as I read the tweets. We soon learned that Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. 

The NBA season was suspended and the world stood still. We were on the same floor that Gobert played on just ten days prior. The rest of the night was filled with unsettling thoughts. 

At the end of the day, I am a journalist and it is my job to cover these events. I love my job at TV2. We have dedicated people at Kent State Student Media and I am proud to be associated with all of them. I am completely heartbroken because I have anchored my last TV2 Newscast, produced my last Sports Corner and attended my last athletic event at Kent State University. I would not be where I am today without the wonderful people I have met through this program. I have made lifelong friends that I will cherish forever. 

I am proud of all the incredible student journalists who work for KentWired and TV2 that broke breaking news throughout the week. Kent State University President Todd Diacon said in a recent email that Flashes take care of Flashes. 

All I can say is that I will always be proud to be a Flash. 

So be healthy, wash your hands and trust our elected officials. This event has taught me that even though the situation is dire, we should not live our lives in fear. We must continue to enjoy our lives while taking the necessary precautions. I will never forget this experience and I can’t wait until we all get back to our normal lives.

Contact Michael Reiner at mreiner4@kent.edu.

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