Kim Rosenthal

"Without hockey and baseball, my husband recently found himself cheering the skillful play of a dodgeball tournament rerun." 
Kim And Husband At Uva Football Game

The writer and her husband, Mike, at a UVA football game, pre-pandemic

On March 6, my family left Arlington to spend spring break in Puerto Rico. While I was concerned enough about the coronavirus that I had been purchasing an extra box of pasta or pack of toilet paper when I went to the store, we decided to go forward with the trip. Anthony Fauci was not yet a role model and COVID-19 was not yet a pandemic.  We expected to return to Arlington pretty much as we had left it.

My sons, both in their second year at UVA, were gearing up for the NCAA tournament and scouting out internships.  My 16-year-old daughter, a student at Yorktown, was applying to be a camp counselor.  We were thinking ahead to summer and swim team.

Kim Rosenthal Family

Being sports fans with college-age kids, we soon realized that we would be returning to a new reality. In between snorkeling and hikes, the kids obsessively checked their phones for news updates.  When online chatter suggested that UVA’s spring break might be extended—oh, the early days—we consoled ourselves by saying that hey, if it happened, at least our family could watch the NCAA tournament together.

We did not anticipate the rapid acceleration of suspensions and closures.  On March 10, the Ivy League cancelled its tournament. On March 11, the NBA suspended its season. The NCAA confirmed on March 12 that March Madness would not take place. Every glance at our phones added another college to the list of now-online universities.

We were exploring the largely deserted forts of Old San Juan when my daughter reported rumors that APS would be suspending classes as well.  By the time we flew home on March 13, slathered in hand sanitizer, all three of my kids were online students.

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Our basement ping-pong table is now my husband’s desk. Our kitchen table, when not covered in puzzle pieces, hosts our daily Hearts tournament. Skittles, our senior dog, is perhaps too well-walked, and our dinner rotation is heavy on one-pot meals.

Without hockey and baseball, my husband recently found himself cheering the skillful play of a dodgeball tournament rerun.  Having survived “Tiger King,” we’re now recording “The Last Dance” and hoping that Michael Jordan and the culinary competition on “Top Chef” will fill the void until UVA and our favorite pro teams return to play.

And given the barren state of the paper products aisle, I’m feeling okay about that extra pack of toilet paper.

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