ANY GIVEN MONDAY
At the risk of traversing awkwardly through the same rutted tyre tracks of a thousand columns before, these are mystifying times.
The kind of times when the champion Crusaders and bullish Blues finish a curiously captivating Super Rugby season by drawing 0-0 in front of no people at a sold-out Eden Park.
The kind of times when members of the public masquerading as the Warriors to get into Central Coast bars is an actual thing.
The kind of times when once-mighty Barcelona are beaten 8-2 in the quarter-finals of a Champions League tournament that will finish well after a new domestic season has started in Scotland.
The kind of times when the media is full of obnoxiously bad Covid-19 "reckons" from hopelessly ill-qualified commentators.
It is with that last statement in mind that I stumble clumsily into a two-fisted proposition:
1. The pandemic looks increasingly likely to cancel the Tokyo Olympics;
2. Might it be the beginning of the end of the Olympics, full stop?
We'll start with the less contentious point one.
Coronavirus is not under control. Every day we wake up to grim headlines about countries that thought they had beaten the curve finding out that instead of a parabola, the graph looks more like a rollercoaster.
At present the Americas represent the global hot spot, but in three months' time it might be Africa, or perhaps resurgence in Europe.
Bearing in mind that organisers have been clear that these Games will not take place in a crowd-free bubble, will the International Olympic Committee and Japanese Government ever be able to reach consensus where they say, for example, the Olympics are open to Asia and Europe but nobody else?
Will individual governments who have seen billions of dollars stripped off their respective GDPs while trying to stop the spread of Covid-19 be happy sending a few hundred of their citizens off to a global get-together for the sake of a few hundred hours of televised sport?
That quick calculus ignores the most invested citizenry in all this: The people of Japan. A series of dispiriting polls recently have suggested the country's 126 million population is rapidly turning against the Games. A survey by the country's leading news agency found just 23 per cent was in favour of hosting the Olympics if Covid-19 infections remained widespread into 2021.
Even in Tokyo a slim majority was in favour of cancelling, with many of them no doubt spooked by the horrendous (by some estimation 300 per cent) cost overruns that have only been increased by the postponement.
These are not things you want to read about if you're at the IOC. As an organisation it has already proven itself to be irrational when it comes to Covid-19, pushing ahead with plans to host the XXXII Olympiad on schedule long after both science and unscientific common sense deemed it impossible.
This shouldn't surprise. The IOC and its member affiliates have acquired a special sort of tone-deafness when it comes to a broad range of matters, from Russian drug cheating, crass commercialism, grotesque overspending and corruption (all of which it has remained stubbornly tolerant of), to athlete activism (of which it is extremely intolerant).
There is little doubt that the IOC will be using its considerable hired muscle – including United States broadcasters NBC and Discovery Inc (which owns Eurosport) – to lobby the Japanese Government to push ahead, just as it will be doing itself.
The IOC will be doing this because it will recognise that the second part of the original proposition is not as far-fetched as it might seem.
If there are no summer games in 2021, the world might just realise that it doesn't need the Olympics as much as it thought it did; it might realise that in a digital world with wall-to-wall, 24-hour access to streaming whatever the hell you want, the idea of bringing together 30-odd disparate sports at enormous cost inside a few arenas in one city is, well, a tad impractical.
We've known that for a while but for the most part chosen to ignore it*. The Olympics have bankrupted Montreal, embarrassed Athens, bolstered communist regimes and displaced hundreds of thousands of people living in the wrong postcode at the wrong time, but we've all been along for the ride because it's the Olympics of course.
We've watched the event get bloated and unwieldy as it has sought to modernise, looking like a dad trying to keep pace with his kids by wearing a pair of orange Chuck Taylors with his chinos and polo shirt.
It's getting harder and harder for the hypocritical IOC to convince cities to debase themselves in the name of the Games and Olympism.
With every sport under the sun and some yet to be officially recognised as sports all having their own "pinnacle" events in the form of world championships, it is also getting harder to justify the need for the Olympics.
With a potential cancellation around the corner, it might be getting even harder to care.
It might just be that the sun is setting on a once genius, now outdated, idea.
Citius, altius, obsolerus?
* I have been fortunate to cover the Olympic Games and have, for the most part, chosen to ignore it.