Sports are one of the great bridges of today’s society that allow people with uncommon backgrounds to connect with each other for a common purpose. In times of hardship and struggle, they give people hope and a moment of escape and, teach young men and women valuable lessons and principles, such as teamwork, humility, hard work, pride, and sportsmanship. They give people something to be inspired by. Simply put, sports, in their own way, make the world a better place. This brings up the question: What is the response of the world when such an integral part of its culture is stripped away? In recent weeks, almost every popular sports association and league has fallen victim to the outbreak of Covid-19. Thousands of athletes and fans have been relegated to the sidelines for the foreseeable future. This pandemic only seems to be getting worse, which means that the return of many major sports anytime soon seems highly unlikely. In the wake of this, executives, athletes and fans all around the world are discovering creative ways to fill the void.
On March 11th, the NBA suspended its season indefinitely after the discovery that many of its players had contracted Covid 19. After this, many other major sports leagues followed suit as the NFL, MLB, NCAA and UFC began to suspend major events and spring sports. Because of this, executives have been scrambling to find a way to still operate during this pandemic. With each passing day, these major sports leagues are losing valuable amounts of revenue. This is increasing their urgency to put in place effective solutions and precautions as soon as possible so that they can resume play. Various ideas have been suggested, from mandatory testing of all staff and players, to resuming and starting the season without fans in attendance. Other major organizations such as the UFC, have even gone as far as deciding to purchase a private island to conduct their competitions out of to ensure safety for their international athletes. Even with all the precautions that have been suggested, there is still a true sense of uncertainty. With each state declaring its own rules for quarantine, state athletic commissions may deem sports “unnecessary”. In the meanwhile, thousands of athletes are patiently waiting as they are also uncertain of the future of the sports they love.
An athlete’s entire life is wrapped up in his or her ability to participate in a sport at the highest level. When that sport is taken away from them, their life is taken away from them. With the newfound abundance of free time, athletes have taken to social media to spread their influence. Using Instagram Live, athletes have taken this time to come together virtually and engender discussions about sports, current events, culture, and behind the scenes information that fans aren’t usually privy to. Some athletes have taken it a step further, using their platforms to help encourage others. Golden State Warrior’s guard Stephen Curry did an Instagram live broadcast that included live worship with artists from Hillsong United, Crowder, Chandler Moore and Travis Greene with devotions from well renowned pastors and spiritual leaders. Additionally, many athletes have found ways to still participate in their respective sports virtually. The NBA hosted a virtual HORSE tournament between athletes to give the fans some form of entertainment to pass the time. While the situation is far from ideal, athletes all around the world are doing the best they can to make the most of this situation.
Every sports fan is currently living their worst nightmare. Sports are such a big part of the world’s culture that when you remove, them people are unsure of what to do with that free time. Fans all across the world are taking it day by day trying to come up with a suitable replacement. When asked how he has felt during the absence of sports, senior Holden Wilder said, “Sports mean a whole lot to me now. They’ve always meant a lot, but now that they aren’t there, I don’t really know what to do.” Many fans echo these sentiments. They are lost without sports. Some have decided to pick up a new hobby, others have watched reruns of past games on ESPN. When asked what he is doing to past the time, Sophomore Jon-Marc Coote said, “I’ve been going outside a lot, making sure I’m staying in shape, doing my online work, and playing a lot of video games.” In this time of great confusion, everyone is simply doing the best they can.
When I asked what he missed most about sports Wilder said, “I just miss competing.” Which sums up everyone’s feelings. From the executive athletes all the way to the fans, everyone misses competition. Competition, at its purest, has a way of bringing out the best in humanity. Everyone is looking forward to the day that we can all return to the arena and stadiums of the world and support our favorite teams with all our heart. And that day will come soon. But for now, all we can do is wait and make the best of the time we have.