After a long hard road in fighting the effects of the infamous COVID-19 Virus, it appears that the nation is finally turning the corner in 2021. Last year the sports world, in general, needed to modify its approach to fielding teams in competitive situations. Teams were mandated to play with shortened schedules, in empty stadiums, or with virtual fans in the seats. These restrictions caused the sponsors and fans to become more frustrated. With sports bars and restaurants closed and along with curfews, fans had no outlet for cheering on their respective teams. The most aggressive way of keeping players safe was done by the National Basketball League. They had a playoff schedule in which teams were placed in what was defined as a “bubble.” In essence, sports teams were placed in a confined environment with protocols in place. If players or staff were found to be in violation, they would then be expelled from the team and could not compete.
As science tackled the Virus with research, there are finally vaccines available, and everyone can now breathe easier. This year we have experienced a semblance of normalcy. The NBA is playing a full schedule this year with teams jockeying for playoff contention. Major League Baseball has completed spring training and will kick the season off in April. The Olympic Games are scheduled to open in July, and have planned a full set of events. The National Football League will have players reporting to camp in July, as well, just as they did in 2019. The Association of Tennis Professionals and the Women’s Tennis Association will compete normally this year with fans in the stadiums for the first time in over a year. In golf, match play is filling gallery spots with fans after a long absence. The bottom line is that the corner has turned on sports this year. Keep in mind there are still modifications to the protocols to keep things moving in the right direction.
Personally, I feel to keep the wheel rolling forward, it’s imperative to rely on science. Listen to what the experts are saying and follow the CDC recommendations. Wear a mask, get vaccinated, and don’t forget to wash your hands. Encourage others in your circle to do likewise; it is the only way to get beyond the Virus and its variants. For those of you that are refusing to follow the mandates, stay home and watch the games on the big screen. Be smart and be safe.