As the coronavirus pandemic has circled the globe, undefeated in its quest to wreck havoc on communities, I've been wondering if we actually need sports. Should we really be focused on dunking basketballs and scoring touchdowns when more than 546,000 Americans have died, most of them gasping for air in isolated hospital rooms?
Sports have felt especially unnecessary the past week, as we’ve played the first couple rounds of the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments in bubbles, with coaches separated from their children and players not allowed to hug their parents.
Then I talked to Brenda Frese and her parents, Bill and Donna Frese. And I started to change my mind.
Brenda is the coach of the Maryland women, a basketball team that gets buckets in bunches and is a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Terps have scored 98 and 100 points, respectively, in their first two tournament games, thoroughly debunking the claim that women’s basketball is boring and serving notice to sixth-seeded Texas, their Sweet 16 opponent, that it will have to put points on the board to pull an upset.
Bill and Donna Frese of Cedar Rapids are Brenda’s parents and the biggest Maryland fans you’ll find in Iowa.
Bill, 89 and a Korean War veteran, usually travels to all of Maryland’s postseason games. But he’s unsure if he’ll be able to join the Terps this year, as he’s recently been “knocked for a loop” after a new round of chemotherapy.