In March 2020, I still had some hope. For Hoopfest, that is. We were told this lockdown would only be a couple weeks. That we would flatten the curve. That we could bring cases down to the point where we could return to normal. And normal, to me, means Hoopfest.
Hoopfest is like Christmas to me. I look forward to it every year — the competitiveness, the walks around the beautiful city, the random encounters with people you haven’t seen in years. As I get older, it’s harder to have the required energy for all the games, and last year I was training harder than ever before so I’d be ready. It was going to be the year my team won, I was sure.
But then, as the pandemic raged on, they said Hoopfest was delayed. At that point, I still had some hope it would actually happen, but not much. I’d read enough to realize that this pandemic would be with us at least until we had a vaccine — and we didn’t know when that would be. Some friends half-heartedly asked if I’d play Hoopfest with them. Sure, I said, but you’re fooling yourself if you think it’s actually happening.
Then it was canceled. That makes sense, I thought. If they didn’t cancel it, I wouldn’t have done it anyway because it was too unsafe. So at least I can say that the first year in decades I didn’t play Hoopfest wasn’t because I skipped it, but because it didn’t happen.
When the vaccine news came, I had hope again. Lives would be saved, the pandemic could come to an end, and yes, I thought, maybe Hoopfest would be back. Optimistically, I guessed we’d have enough shots in arms by June for it to happen on schedule. Then I found out again it’s delayed.
Now, it’s scheduled for Sept. 11-12. Will it be the same? Will wildfire smoke cancel it? Will a new virus variant keep it from happening? I don’t know. All I know is that it won’t feel like a normal summer unless there’s a Hoopfest in Spokane.