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Roy Green: I miss my sports

Roy Green will have to wait until at least November before he sees current champ Tiger Woods present the green jacket to the next Masters winner.
Roy Green will have to wait until at least November before he sees current champ Tiger Woods present the green jacket to the next Masters winner. AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File

I should be watching replays of unforgettable moments in major sporting events on Friday night. That’s my usual Friday routine after the guests are booked and preparation is largely completed for my weekend programs on the Corus radio network.

While historic game and tournament action is available, force-fed to reluctant fans in virtual desperation by various sports outlets, I won’t be turning to my PVR to summon up the fourth round of the 2020 Masters golf tournament, which was originally scheduled to be played last Sunday at the Augusta National golf course in Georgia.

READ MORE: Golf Canada asks players to stay home amid coronavirus pandemic

I won’t be standing and cheering repeatedly as wondrous shots arc over Rae’s Creek at Amen Corner, or leaning back agonizing as mishits splash into the iconic waterway that flows, as Augusta.com describes, “in front of the 12th green and behind the 11th green” while “a tributary runs up the left side of the 13th fairway and in front of the greens.” Amen Corner has repeatedly separated winners from losers with cruel indifference.

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I won’t be replaying the ceremonial delivery of the iconic victor’s green jacket by last year’s champion. And who survived four days of stress and turmoil to wear the 2019 jacket? That would have been Tiger Woods, simultaneously ending his multi-year major tournament victory drought.

I had $100 riding on Tiger presenting this year’s green jacket to himself. That may yet happen with the Masters rescheduled for Nov. 9. Sure, I’ll watch, if it happens, but the level of excitement? Likely not so much. It’ll be more a case of relief that something — anything of international sports significance — has actually happened.

Concerns over novel coronavirus suspends major league seasons
Concerns over novel coronavirus suspends major league seasons

The NHL playoffs, their NBA equivalency with the Kawhi Leonard-less defending champion Toronto Raptors, as well as MLB, MLS and its various global counterparts — all are parked until better times.

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And no Tokyo Olympic Games this summer, either. The “Go Canada go” chants will have to wait until the Olympics take place in Tokyo in 2021.

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As a life-long Formula 1 racing fanatic who usually, at best, tolerates other motorsports, I’d be happy to watch the souped-up lawn tractor world championships.

Sport is an outlet for pent-up emotions. How I miss hearing a leather-lunged play-by-play, with calls of “ya bum, ya!” Sport is “I could do that” fantasy. To adapt for present purpose a famous metaphor, “sport washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

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I could fill my Friday night with film of Jimmy Connors or Martina Navratilova, replete with wooden rackets, shouting across the net as Bjorn Borg or Chrissy Evert silently stares back. But no thanks.

I’d rather watch Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna during the 1991 Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona howling down the straightaway in their 1100 HP wicked F1 monsters at well over 200 mph and separated by mere inches with neither appearing willing to be the first to accept a corner was rushing at them.

Similarly, or I could watch Canada’s wonderful Bianca Andreescu scoring her first Grand Slam victory over Serena Williams, the Queen of women’s tennis, a year ago at the U.S. Open. And in straight sets.

How about Joe Carter hammering a walk-off home run against Mitch (Wild Thing) Williams of the Philadelphia Phillies in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series and securing a back-to-back Fall Classic victory for the Toronto Blue Jays? Almost as famous is Blue Jays great play-by-play broadcaster Tom Cheek shouting, as Carter rounded the bases, “touch ’em all, Joe.”

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“Financial Gymnastics”: new coronavirus pandemic taking its toll on sports organizations
“Financial Gymnastics”: new coronavirus pandemic taking its toll on sports organizations

Or Mike Weir dropping the eight-footer in the first playoff hole against Len Mattiace at the 2003 Masters, claiming the green jacket and making history. Twice. The only Canadian to win at Augusta and the first lefty.

The Toronto Raptors, led by Leonard and Kyle Lowry, dispatching all opposition and dethroning the Golden State Warriors to claim the 2019 NBA championship. They had the entire nation of Canada chanting “We the North.”

“He shoots, he scores and Canada wins.” Here, insert names like Gretzky, Crosby and Henderson.

Canada roared as our women’s hockey teams scored gold at the world championships and Olympic Games. Can you say Hayley Wickenheiser?

Sure, we sports fans will always cherish the great and historic moments, particularly when Canada came out on top. I wish I had space here to name all our athletes who have made us leap to our feet, like Nancy Greene. The list is too long, but we cherish them all.

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While history has its place in our hearts, it’s the absence of the presence which weighs on us. And not only in sports.

Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Global News Radio network.

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