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Sports betting chatter keeps us busy

As the coronavirus tightens its grip on the nation, the challenge to stay sane, along with safe, rises exponentially with each day.

We try to keep busy as we self-quarantine. We try to give the kids projects to occupy their time, perhaps even try our hand at home-schooling. What little we get outside, we are donning masks, keeping ourselves away from others and say a little prayer that we get back inside our homes without incident.

See "We will miss NCAA Final Four"

We’re watching a ton of television and movies. I must confess, I have not watched a single episode of Tiger King and I might be the only person in America who can make that claim.

Of course, I exaggerate when I say that. But each of us have developed our own routine to get through each day. Our mental health is as important as our physical health. If we leave CNN or Fox News or MSNBC on all day, we’ll go insane. The news is that depressing.

I try to take my news in small doses. It’s still important to stay informed. Fortunately, I have an outlet to stay busy, which is writing this column for Gaming Today’s website. Living alone, there are no kids to entertain or keep busy. There’s no need to social distance myself from anyone. I can dress however I want. Today it was shorts and a Del Mar T-shirt (Boy, do I wish that place was open!) There’s no one to impress or repulse if I opt not to shave.

Still, there’s only so much one can write, unless it’s a book. Believe me, the thought has crossed my mind about writing a third book to go with my UNLV basketball and Vegas Golden Knights books. But fortunately I’ve been busy enough that I don’t know that I’d really have the time to do it the right way. Of course, that’s subject to change.

But friends of mine are doing just that. The great Jerry Izenberg, who has authored 13 books, is putting the finishing touches on a novel and is starting a project about growing up in Newark, N.J. in the 1930s. Alan Snel, who is an avid cyclist, is working on a book about his travels all over America on his two-wheeler.

Last Thursday, I was editing copy for the GT website and I put on a local radio show called Sportsbook Radio, which is hosted by my good friend Brian Blessing. He had another friend, Bruce Marshall of The Gold Sheet, on for the hour. They got into a discussion about the old American Football League and it morphed into a trip down memory lane. 

Cookie Gilchrist. Ernie Ladd. Jim Nance. Jim Turner. The Heidi Game. War Memorial Stadium. The hour flew by. It was the perfect anti-depressant.

And Blessing kept it rolling in the second hour as he had Golden Knights TV play-by-play man Dave Goucher on during his Vegas Hockey Hotline show. They talked about classic Boston Bruins-Buffalo Sabres battles (Goucher called Bruins games on the radio for 17 years, Blessing worked in TV in Buffalo for a couple of decades) and what the Golden Knights and the NHL may look like once the season resumes.

I tried to do my part earlier that morning when I was on The Press Box, which is co-hosted by one of my best friends, Ed Graney. He and Clay Baker had me on to talk about the 30th anniversary of UNLV winning the NCAA title, a subject I had delved into last Wednesday in the current digital edition of Gaming Today. 

Friday, those guys were debating the best one hit wonder songs, which was hilarious. I had forgot about William Hung, and rightfully so.

When I hung up with Ed and Clay Thursday, I thought to myself, “Well, I hope that helped get people’s minds off the coronavirus for a few minutes.” 

Across the country, sports talk radio is trying to keep your mind off the pandemic. We may not have live sports to watch these days, but talk radio can be very therapeutic. Same for podcasts. When done right, it can put a smile on our faces. It can inform us, especially as the NFL Draft draws closer and we’re all curious as to what our favorite team is going to do come April 23. We can debate the merits of whether the NBA and/or NHL should consider playing their postseasons in a single city or what the format should look like.

Most of all, it can entertain us. It can break up the boredom and monotony. And it can keep us sane. Even if it’s for just an hour or two each day.