In the Pandemic Age, progress is slow. We stay home hoping to flatten the curve, only to hear staggering numbers of infected patients arriving at hospitals.

Here in Massachusetts, we’re in the thick of it. The expected surge arrived, later than expected. Once the governor hoped to reopen the economy by May 4. Now that seems like so much wishful thinking.

It isn’t like that everywhere. Other parts of the country are emerging from isolation, even if they are doing it against the better judgement of many doctors and scientists.

The NFL draft went on as scheduled last week, providing us with an intimate look inside the homes of players and coaches such as Kansas City’s Andy Reid NFL via AP

As we watch regions inch towards recovery, it’s impossible not to wonder what things will be like this summer. Those daydreams inevitably bring us to sports.

Is there any chance we’ll have something to watch this summer? And, if so, what will it look like?

We got our first glimpse over the weekend, when the NFL held its draft on schedule and on time. It wasn’t the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas. Instead, it was a much more genuine celebration as we got to peek in on families and homes around the country.

We saw players surrounded by loved ones reacting to the news that their football dreams had come true. We got to see coaches and GMs spending time with their families instead of sitting in war rooms surrounded by scouts and takeout orders.

We got to see Bill Belichick’s dog, Nike.

It was beautiful. The NFL once again dropped a perfect dime into the end zone when we needed it most. For three days we could forget about the epidemic and text one another or post angry tweets about what our team was doing.

The Patriots traded out of the first round again? That’s the kind of normalcy we’ve been missing. Robotic commissioner Roger Goodell’s interaction with virtual fans was just as awkward as his mingling with fans in person. The NFL, a league that promotes a larger-than-life image, got down in the living room with the rest of us and reminded everyone that life can go on.

There were no hackers, no communication breakdowns. Everyone had enough bandwidth to get through the weekend, and teams got players they hope will help them in the future.

More importantly we got to think about a future where we gather with friends to watch a sport being played. Even if it’s played without fans in the stadium.

While the draft was going on, the hockey world was buzzing with reports that the league was looking at a plan that would resume the 2019-20 season (and more importantly the Stanley Cup playoffs by July). Clusters of teams would play their games at neutral rinks, keeping everyone close by and well-surveilled.

What would the Stanley Cup playoffs look like without fans? Nothing like the intensity we’ve gotten used to from past events.

But that’s OK. It’ll have to be. Nothing will look the same when we finally start to emerge. Protective face masks aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, and once-bustling bars and restaurants will probably have to limit the number of clientele when they reopen.

As we saw over the weekend, we’ve been sitting home alone long enough to realize that there won’t be a switch to flip and return life to normal. It’s going to be a process. And that process will undoubtedly see some strange steps along the way.

Tom Caron is a studio host for Red Sox broadcasts on NESN.


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