I watched a basketball game alone for the first time. The women’s teams of Presbyterian and Gardner-Webb are playing in solitude again on Thursday.

Well, not alone alone. Bereft of fans.

PC, vitally concerned with keeping the season going with COVID-19 circulating in the air, has Templeton Center’s lobby under lock and key for a while. Seldom do I write about a game with such exclusivity.

I entered through the back, where I signed paperwork and made sure my body temperature was acceptable.

For the first time, the prayer and national anthem seemed out of place. Oh, say, can you see? Well, no. An unusually low number of hearts swelled with national pride. The starting-lineup introductions were offered presumably so that God would know, but God knows everything.

Public address announcers mostly announce the visitors matter-of-factly and give the hosts the let’s get ready to rumbbullllllll! treatment. It seemed like a waste of vocal exertion, but athletes are often superstitious and fond of familiar rites of adulation.

Spectators included keepers of statistics, various and sundry other support personnel and a handful of men’s team players thoughtfully munching pizza about 10 rows up on the visitors’ side.

The team benches were set apart in three rows, thus allowing for healthy distances. They looked like places where an orchestra would set up.

Me? I sat behind a table on a platform behind the main scoring table, scribbling notes for the benefit of an exclusive eyewitness story. Others relied on the PC website.

I carefully stepped down from my perch to wander around the court taking photographs from the corners for a while. Even I can find 15 usable shots if I click the camera 91 times.

For all of that, it was a great game. I couldn’t remember the last time I saw the Blue Hose play so well.

Most of the noise that wasn’t Memorex came from benches. For most women’s basketball teams, cheerleaders are a luxury item. I envy them their enthusiasm. The quality of play is often unhindered by the destructive macho bent of males. A young man will often sacrifice his team for the desire to foul immediately and stupidly the opponent who just blocked his shot.

Women seem more mature. I admire maturity since, being a man, I’ve seldom shown much.

I could get used to this, but I hope I don’t.