Sports are one of America’s pastimes, whether it be baseball, football, basketball, etc., and is one of the great ways to unite, even when you are rooting for the other team. Unfortunately, like so many other things during the pandemic, sports have been affected with the presence of the coronavirus. Although major league sports are attempting to come back in some capacity, some games have been delayed due to COVID-19 outbreaks on teams, including Major League Baseball. Some of the leagues within the college sports realm are cancelling games for the fall. Sports may bring a sense of normalcy to our lives, but if there are too many health risks involved, would it be safer to say that any type of sport playing may be a wash this year and just wait until next year to enjoy them to the fullest extent?
Governor Wolf recommended last week that sports be cancelled until January 1st. Thankfully, this is a recommendation and not a law or order for those in the state of Pennsylvania. I think it is fair to say that if a league is able to put the necessary safety precautions, including potential testing protocols, to keep its players healthy and can prove this to parents, players, and any other party that may ask (you never know if safety precautions have to be proven to the government in the future), they should be able to go ahead with their season. However, if an outbreak were to occur throughout the course of the season, it should be cancelled. If a league has a registration fee, reimbursements at a pro-rated amount should be given back to parents or participants (depending on whether this is for children and adult leagues).
Some universities have cancelled their athletic programs through the end of this year. Shippensburg University is an example of this, deciding to cancel any “intercollegiate athletic contests through December 31, 2020” (link provided below). This is their prerogative. Some players in professional sports have decided to forego playing this season due to the health risk that could occur through playing in the times of a pandemic, which is their choice to do so. Keep in mind these players are earning their salary for the season, so it wouldn’t matter if they played. If a player has a family to keep safe and healthy, it’s their freedom of choice to forego the season. Hopefully we will see them next season.
Sure, putting the kibosh on high school and college sports could put scholarship and drafting opportunities in jeopardy. Many students receive a full scholarship to a college to play a certain sport through their high school games and if they are unable to play for that season, this obviously presents a missed chance for that student to earn that. A potential work-around for this could be that scouts and coaches could view video footage of previous seasons so that they could make decisions on who to draft onto their teams. However, if someone had a bad season in the past, this could threaten chances of scholarship or professional prospects, losing out on a reputable school or sports team.
I have to commend the NBA and NHL for creating a “bubble” for their players to complete the season. As of today, there’s not one player that has tested positive for COVID-19, so clearly, there’s something that they are doing right to keep their players healthy. Major League Soccer has also been playing in a “bubble” and hasn’t had a positive COVID test since July 16. It may not hurt the NFL and NBA to call these leagues to find out their safety precautions so that they can continue their seasons and maintain the health of their players.
Like so many, I want to see sports go back to the way it used to be. Seeing a stadium or gymnasium full of fans or a parking lot full of tailgaters would restore normalcy in the world of sports an. However, we have been dealing with this pandemic for over five months now; we need to start working on what we can do to get our world back to normal, including the enjoyment of our favorite sports, whether they are local, regional, national, and global.
(Picture Courtesy of Clipart Library)