editor's note

Illustration by Gordon Schmidt

Uncertainty perched in our minds as we planned and developed this issue. Specifically, how could we cover the phenomenal hopes the men’s basketball team was raising by midseason, but in a way that didn’t depend, because of our production schedule, on how things turned out in March? The main uncertainty back then was whether the guys would play themselves into their first NCAA tournament since 2011. It never crossed our minds that there wouldn’t be an NCAA tournament.

I’m sure your life these past few months has also been full of these quick turns. You might’ve suddenly become homebound because your employer acknowledged the necessity or your governor decreed it. You might’ve been the one to send your employees home and then stayed up nights wondering how to make the next payroll. Or you might’ve felt the ominous creep of greater demands and uncertainty if you’re one of the countless medical professionals or other essential service providers risking your health for the greater public good, for which we’re grateful. One Spider, U.S. Rep. Ben Cline, L’07, is in Congress doing his best to help lead the nation’s response.

One common story binding us all as I write this is the disorientation of social distancing, a term I’d wager almost none of us knew in February but none of us will forget for all our Februaries to come. It’s forced us into everything from wide swings around strangers at the grocery store to anxious contemplation of loved ones left isolated if the worst should strike.

Preparing this issue was an exercise in fighting some of the effects of social distancing as the magazine’s staff found new ways to be creative in how we work. I hope reading it has a similar effect for you — that it helps you decrease social distance via stories of a familiar place and our community of Spiders. That’s why we left much of the content as planned, even as we adjusted some stories to account for the new reality that hit during production. Our lives go on, and the mission of the university does, too. Just the thought brings me comfort.

This magazine has always been about nurturing the connections that bind Spiders over distances of both time and space. In these anxious times, it has every reason to continue to be, so I hope the issue brings you both Spider Pride and a sense of normalcy. As for the men’s basketball story, you can see what we came up with — and stuck with — here. Next season can’t come soon enough.