Do you all have enough toilet paper? If not, you can go win a roll at some restaurants around the world.

Yes, some establishments have decided to have a bit of fun with the whole Chicken Little-type deal with TP. You know those arcade-like games where you drop a claw and try to pick up a prize you know you’ll never win? Well, some owners have replaced the toys with, yes, buttwipe. I had a laugh when I saw the one restaurant in Bridlington, England, which appears to be the first. Many others have followed suit and I think it’s hilarious. You may not but since exploding diarrhea isn’t one of the symptoms of COVID-19, the need to stock up on toilet paper escapes me. I’d like to stock up on foodstuffs more than worrying about how I’m going to clean myself.

Anyway …

Let’s go … Smolevichi!

So the entire sports world has decided to shut itself down so no one catches COVID-19. I get it but it’s getting to be a bit too much. Thankfully, we have the Belarusian Premier League to keep us entertained.

Alexander Lukashenko, left, president of Belarus, shakes hands with Volodymyr Zelensky, president of Ukraine, during a meeting between the two in 2019. Lukashenko isn’t one to let something go too easily, even during a declared pandemic, and that includes soccer.
Wikimedia Commons photo

That’s right – the top soccer league in Russia minor is up and going with no regard to COVID-19 whatsoever. Alexander Lukashenko, the country’s president (dictator, depending on who you talk to), ordered the league to continue regardless of the situation surrounding coronavirus. He figures more people are going to die from the panic about the virus than the virus itself.

Games are going on with fans in the stands and it has me thinking: do you think sports networks around the world have been secretly trying to negotiate deals to broadcast this live? Don’t think there hasn’t been an overture or two from an outlet desperate for any live sports coverage it can get its hands on.

And the league probably knows the desperation involved, meaning it can control what stations pay for said soccer action. If I was in charge of the league, I would be in talks with anyone willing to pay my price. You want my product, it’s the only thing going today and it fills broadcast blocks. What’s it worth to you?

The other thing to think about is sportsbooks, or gambling companies. With no sports to lay bets on, they’ll see this as a way to make a few bucks at least. It’s not the English Premier League or La Liga in Spain but it’s soccer and people will bet on it, if only to try and keep their sanity while they waste away in social distancing exercises.

In the meantime, pick your favourite team and cheer for them, if only for a season. This is the only live sports action you’re going to see for weeks. I’m all about the underdog so I’m picking Smolevichi. They’re a newly-promoted side. Dinamo Brest are the defending champions but BATE Borisov has been the big dog in the league for several years.

Here’s a stunner …

In perhaps the worst-kept secret going today, the International Olympic Committee has decided to postpone the Summer Olympics, which were set to happen in Tokyo, Japan this July. Three guesses as to why.

Really, there was no way this was going to go off as planned and leave it to Canada to lead the way in telling the organizing committee it wouldn’t be sending a team to either the Olympics itself or the Paralympics. Australia followed suit and it all went downhill from there.

The positives are obvious: athletes get another year to train, Tokyo gets another year to prepare for the influx of athletes and people that will converge on the Japanese capital and no having to worry about Russia sending its athletes to screw around with drug testing. Everyone’s a winner with this decision!

This will become the first time an Olympic Games – winter or summer – has been postponed for reasons not related to war or conflict and like everything else in the sports world, it would seem, we wait to see what happens. The Games are now set to happen in 2021 and that just might throw off the rotation but who cares? It’s still going to happen, right?

And finally …

Good Idea: Seniors playing Human Hungry Hungry Hippos to pass the time while isolated thanks to COVID-19.

Bad Idea: Why in the hell didn’t we think of that?

We’re all doing our thing and trying to keep our brains from going to mush while COVID-19 takes over the world. There’s only so many games of I Spy you can play with a four-year-old before you begin to wonder if there really is light at the end of the tunnel.

Leave it to the folks at the Bryn Celyn Care Home in south Wales to come up with an idea I wish I could do. The home’s residents have been recent participants in a human form of Hungry Hungry Hippos. I kid thee not – there’s a video and it shows how the residents are sitting in wheelchairs with baskets on the end of broomsticks, trying to catch balls, all while being pushed back and forth by the home’s employees. If you’ve ever played Hungry Hungry Hippos, you will understand why this is probably the coolest thing you will see all day.

For those of us who whine about having it tough because we’re under isolation, remember this: the old folks have it much tougher. They have no choice but to be shut-ins because they are more susceptible to whatever COVID-19 rains down. The difference is that they know how to pass the time better than we ever will.

If you needed a reminder of how much smarter they are than we ever will be, watch the video.

Until next time, folks …

James McCarthy

I've been hanging around the office as the sports editor for the better part of the last 16 years. In August 2022, NNSL Media decided to promote me to the managing editor's position, which I accepted after...

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