The 10 Days that Changed America

Ten days ago, the NBA season was cancelled. Yep, that was just ten days ago. Doesn’t it feel like that was months ago? It sure does to me. In fact, I went and checked the NBA calendar just to make sure. And my initial thought was correct. March 11 was the end of the NBA season for this year. Oh, I know there are contingency plans to finish the season if the Covid 19 pandemic runs out of steam. That won’t happen. The NBA season is over. We should just all accept that and try and move on. Just like we are all trying to move on with our lives. Maybe you live in the NYC area and feel every aspect of how this crisis is impacting people’s day-to-day-lives. Maybe you live somewhere which has barely been touched by this issue. I don’t know where this could be as I just tried to put a few cities in my previous sentence to illustrate my point and looked up the following places – Tulsa, Portland Maine, Santa Fe, Provo Utah, Boise Idaho, Little Rock – and ALL of them are dealing with coronavirus cases/impacts. That scared the sh*t out of me! So, let me change my previous sentence to “maybe you live somewhere where life hasn’t flipped completely upside down”. It will. And it will probably happen in the next 7-14 days. Get ready. Especially mentally and emotionally. Be strong for yourself, your family and your friends. We will get through this. However, it is going to be hard, scary, painful and change us forever. Maybe it will be just a small part of ourselves, but it will change us. Just look at how it has changed sports and DFS in 10 days! Not that sports and DFS are the end all and be all, but this is a fantasy sports website after all. I have been spending my days fighting the Wall Street fight (I am in investments), which has been a losing battle so far. I have had neither the time nor the desire to blog on here for the past ten days. However, this morning I woke up with a compulsion to write. And thanks to the good people at Rotogrinders, blogging here is an outlet. So, here is a look at how things have changed in just ten days in America. I would love to hear from others on here how they are doing and what has changed for them. But, first and foremost, I hope all are safe, healthy and in places where you can ride out this sh*tstorm. It is going to get much worse before it gets better. But, it will get better, we will all be different in certain ways and hopefully that will be a positive thing going forward.

Personal lives have changed. I am going to get a bit personal here. As you might imagine, my name isn’t actually SoChoice. It is Mike. And for the past week, my wife, dog and I have been camped out in a family house on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It is quieter here, has much less people and is generally a peaceful place. Right now, our kids are a bit scattered (four total – all from our respective first marriages). One is back at college at a school that allows students to be on campus even though classes have gone online. She’ll be home soon I imagine when the campus closes to all but a super skeleton crew. Two of the kids are with my ex-wife about an hour away, both toiling through the first bit of online schooling (one is in college and the other in high school). And the last child left Brooklyn last weekend (just moved there in January after finishing college and now there are zero jobs) and is driving cross country with his girlfriend. They are taking their time and camping out, all the while keeping to themselves and ultimately headed to Montana to be with family. It is more than a little bothersome that our kids are not here with us, but they are safe and in good places. My wife and I are lucky in that our jobs easily lend themselves to working from home. We are very fortunate that way. The closest town to us is a quaint little tourist town. The people and merchants there don’t work from home. They work in their shops, cafes, restaurants, stores. Since last Monday, it has turned into a ghost town. People aren’t traveling much, so the usual late winter pickup in activity isn’t happening. Restaurants have closed to everything but carryout and delivery orders, so their businesses are suffering mightily. And since there are no people drinking, eating and walking around town, the other small merchants are all seeing no to little activity. Doesn’t matter if you sell jewelry, clothes, tacky Maryland chachkis or furniture, you are hurting. This town is very slowly dying. Some businesses will make it. Some won’t. Their lives will likely change much more than mine and my family’s, but we will all experience changes from this.

Sports and DFS have changed. It started with Rudy Gobert and may end with the summer Olympics being cancelled/postponed. Ok, maybe it didn’t “start” with Gobert and the Japanese Olympics might be fine (it won’t, but I have to try to think positive sometimes), but I think you understand what I am saying. In ten days, sports as we all know it has almost ceased to exist. No NBA. No March Madness. No PGA golf. No NHL. No college lacrosse. No ESPN the Ocho showing dodgeball contests. No high school sports in many different areas. Great teams won’t get the championships they were chasing. Many high school and college seniors won’t be able to end their careers on their own terms. Perhaps the UFC will have some fights, but Dana White and that organization es mucho loco. And with no sports, comes no DFS. I must admit that I have not missed it. But, I have been super busy every day with work and my livelihood does not depend on DFS. There is a whole wide swath of people out there who do tie their livelihoods to fantasy sports and the last ten days had to have been painful. The next month+ will be even more painful, but I hope everyone can make it through to the other side. DFS will be back. Personally, I am guessing that the next major contests we see will be NFL contests in the early fall. Maybe some preseason NFL as well. I guess MLB in late July/early August is a possibility. God I hope I am wrong on this timing and it is much earlier, for all of our sakes. I did open my Fanduel app today and saw the following contest listed “$60K Sat LOL Nexus”. What the f*ck is that? I am guessing it is a contest to win an old computer like the Commodore 64, but I could be way off…..

The stock market and economy have changed. I don’t want to come across as too callous or flippant here, but I don’t know how to say the following any different from the way I am going to say it. As far as the stock market and economy go, we are all f*cked for a while. It might be three weeks. It might be two months. I don’t think it will be 10 days. Things are about to get out of control and not in a good way. Yes, the stock market is already down over 30% in just the last 31 days. I know that. But, we are five days away from the greatest jump in jobless claims in the history of our economy. Don’t believe me? Pay attention to financial markets on Thursday and you’ll hear about it. Just under 60% of the total workforce in the U.S. are hourly workers and these individuals are at greatest risk of lower hours/furloughs/layoffs in the near-term. Activity levels across many different industries are sprinting towards zero. Well, unless you are a grocery store, Costco/Walmart/Target, Amazon or a drugstore. This is going to be painful. Once again, we will get through it, but not without potentially material future damage to the stock market and economic growth (actually declines for at least a few months) in the near-term. I wish you the best as we move through this turbulent financial and economic time.

What matters has changed. Have you heard much about the Bachelor? Or the Kardashians? Or some viral 13 year old on Tik Tok? I know there is still some chatter about these irrelevant topics, but it has really died down. People are much more focused on real life. On family and friends. On safeguarding their way of life, as much as possible. On thinking about other people and how to help. About what real life might bring over the next few weeks and months. And as painful as this can be, it is also healthy. Hopefully, the family and friends focus will retain some momentum as we move out of this virus tsunami. Maybe even the Bachelor will get cancelled. Wouldn’t that be a silver lining to this crazy time?

Definition and face of leadership has changed.. Tough times really show you who the true leaders are. Perhaps it is someone in your family. Maybe it is your boss. Maybe someone in your church/synagogue/mosque has stepped up. Maybe it is Governor Cuomo of New York State. Or Dr. Anthony Fauci. We know who it isn’t. Don’t worry I won’t say his name. But his hair is orange…. I hope people remember this as we move to the other side. Leadership matters.

I do truly hope that you and your family/friends are holding up well during these unprecedented times. And if you need something to look forward to, may I offer up Westworld Season 3 on HBO Sunday night? The first episode was excellent and this season could be great. Be well, healthy and safe.

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  • mpuntsch

    Thanks Mike, not sure why I checked out the site today but perhaps it was so I could read a thoughtful blog. I wish you and the family well during these turbulent times, stay healthy and hang in there, the market will eventually turn around. First pitch in August.

  • ifthethunder

    NIce blog, Mike. Good luck to you and everyone.

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