Finally, Welcome Back!
by John Jastremski
Feb 24, 2021 | 5518 views | 0 0 comments | 714 714 recommendations | email to a friend | print
March 11, 2020, is a day I will remember for the rest of my life.

With the outbreak of COVID-19 spreading throughout New York and the country, the sports world shut down in a way unlike anything we have ever seen before.

At the time, Who could have known March 11 would be the last time a New York sports fan would attend a live sporting event for nearly one year?

It was Wednesday night and the start of the Big East Tournament, and St. John’s had just pulled off an incredible second-half comeback against the Georgetown Hoyas.

College hoops fans across the tristate area were looking forward to a second-round high noon tip-off on Thursday for the Storm and an entire afternoon of wall-to-wall basketball.

But those Thursday afternoon plans for a liquid lunch and Big East Tournament basketball were put on hold and, it would be almost a full year before any fans were allowed back into Madison Square Garden.

The idea that we went through spring, summer, fall and almost a full winter without being at a ballpark, stadium or arena is mind-boggling.

Thankfully, we've had the games. I can't stress how important that has been for all of us throughout this crazy, chaotic year.

Yet, Tuesday, February 23, marked the return. Of course, like every other aspect of our lives, the norms have changed dramatically.

There will only be 10 percent capacity at Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center for Knicks and Nets home games, but my goodness it's a start.

It allows baseball fans to dream about getting back to Yankee Stadium and Citi Field in the 2021 season, and what a welcoming thought that is during one of the snowiest winters in years.

Will it be different for fans? Absolutely. A spaced-out Garden or Yankee Stadium is going to be super strange, but it sure beats an empty arena.

There's been so much I've missed about the stadium experience. I miss the crowded 4 train and the anticipation of seeing Yankee Stadium rising up through the subway tunnel.

I miss the buzz of the fans walking down Seventh Avenue getting ready for a big game on the court or ice.

I even miss those ridiculously long security lines in which we would normally be stressing about whether or not we'd make it in for first pitch.

I miss it all.

It's going to be different, but you have to start somewhere. Welcome back New York City sports fans, it's been too long!

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