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During this time of social distancing, we’re checking in with those in the Philly sports world to see How They’re Keeping Busy. Next up, longtime NBC Sports Philadelphia host Michael Barkann.

What are you doing to keep busy during these strange times without live sports?

Michael Barkann: My family and I were away the week before last. We took a long planned vacation to Mexico figuring that when we returned I was going full bore into Phillies coverage. We watched – with increasing discomfort – as the virus spread around the world. Thursday, March 12, the day that the NBA and NHL suspended their seasons, the NCAA tournament was canceled, baseball postponed the start of the season, which would have been this Thursday — Phillies at Miami. Then, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson announced they had the virus. It all hit like a punch to the gut. To me, that signaled IT’S HERE and we’re going to have to deal with his for a while.

When we arrived home it took several days to get into the new swing of things.
  
I keep busy by walking outside daily, about four miles per day, listening to podcasts (especially the NBC Sports Philadelphia podcasts), writing and hopefully doing interviews and being with my family. 

How are you getting your sports fill?

MB: You can’t really get your sports fill if there are no sports, can you? I am constantly flicking my remote control to 847 (that’s NBC Sports Philadelphia on my cable system) thinking that, magically, there will be some game LIVE that we’re showing that I was previously unaware of. Hey, I can dream can’t I? I’m staying abreast of developments by reading NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and on the MyTeams App. But, we love what we do because we love watching great athletes play the games and the resulting competition. I saw a Joe Buck tweet asking for videos of people in their homes performing every day tasks. He called play-by-play of a mom with her infant son in her arms. She was trying to get the kid to settle down. I admire the creativity and it was cute but I miss the games!

Tip(s) for everyone stuck at home who may be stressed?

MB: The Calm app. Try a little meditation. I have been trying to meditate every day and it has chilled me out a little. “Radical Simplicity,” one of the sessions called it. Don’t go expecting a completely different Michael but I have noticed a difference in my mindfulness. I have read about many top athletes, business persons, entertainers who take time out of their day to meditate and if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me. There is a charge to subscribe to the Calm app; 10 Percent Happier app, too. But I’m sure there are meditations on YouTube and elsewhere on the internet that are accessible, free of charge.

Specific content you’d recommend to others? Anything you’re binging/reading/listening to?

MB: I just read Born a Crime by Trevor Noah — beautifully poignant book about his upbringing and struggles in South Africa. It should be made into a motion picture. 

Is there a local business or charity you’re supporting during these tough times?

MB: Fuel the Fight is providing much-needed suplies to nurses at CHOP, UPENN and others, the BarkannFoundation.org, and the Rex Chapman Covid-19 Relief Fund.

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