Life without sports betting: What do we do now?
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All I can think about is the Kubler-Ross model. You know, the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance (DABDA).

Thirty-six hours into life without sports betting, I think I'm working my way through the third stage: I just promised the gambling gods I'd never blindly play another A-10 over in college basketball so long as they used their powers to resume sports.

In what's been one of the worst periods of all time for the betting industry (among others), the adjustment has not been easy. I once faked a sickness to get out of a wedding so I could stay home and binge a Saturday full of college football. Do you know how many times I didn't go out to meet friends because I wanted to bet Seton Hall-Marquette on a Tuesday night, so I had to tell them I had to take my dog to the vet? I don't even own a dog.

It was going to take a pandemic to keep me - and others - away from our one true escape. And reality hit like a pillow full of bricks. If there's any sort of silver lining - I say "silver lining" loosely - it's that if you're like me, this will give you some time to think. Instead of having date nights with St. Mary's and Pepperdine on a random Wednesday night, the only guest right now is my mind.

I think a lot about the routine, or lack thereof. Mornings spent over a hot cup of coffee and daily NBA props are no more. Scouting fantasy baseball sleepers in my spare time sounds more like a waste than a potential edge at the current moment. Now, every login to an online sportsbook feels like seeing your ex on Facebook.

I think a lot about the hard work people put in to place futures. They'll all likely get canceled. Unless you're like me and had the Pacers under 47.5 wins for the 2019-20 season. I've smiled once in the last day and a half - it was because of that.

I think a lot about the alternatives. What alternatives? You need sports to be playing in order to bet on them. Come on, It's not like I'm going to gamble on some Turkey League soccer between two teams I've never heard of. Only a fool would do such a thing.

I've thought a lot about the missed opportunities - how I wish I would have played every lean imaginable instead of taking a pass. You truly don't know what you've got until it's gone. If a market was offering -200 on both sides of a first-period hockey total, I'd politely lay -300 on the over just to express how happy I was to be able to bet again.

I've thought a lot about the near future. Previous regimens of locking myself in my apartment with a 12-hour slate of college basketball has been replaced by reading. Instead of looking at spring training, I gloss over Heisman odds. This weekend, I have to go to a birthday party for my cousin's two-year-old son. And here's the kicker! I don't have to tell him I'm "coming down with something." I can like, actually be present for your child's birthday party because I don't have any bets to keep track of. Why yes, I would like a piece of cake, because for once in my life, my stomach doesn't hurt from watching a freshman miss the front end of a 1-and-1 in the final minute of a Horizon League dogfight.

I've thought a lot about opportunity and growth. This is a temporary lull and a chance for sports bettors to dial in elsewhere. As I pass this time and enter a new chapter, my main objective is to kill time by purchasing a Nintendo 64 and Mario Kart 64 to boot ... that way I can host events, be a third-party book, and set odds on all the racers. The headline would read "Local hero unfairly indicted on charges of illegal gambling ring; Luigi takes Koopa Troopa Classic as 6-1 'dog."

What can I say? It's the only life I've ever known.

Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 12 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AJKolodziej.

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Life without sports betting: What do we do now?
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