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Covid-19 And The Absence Of Sports By Mark Hollis

In the midst of a world pandemic, sports have been regulated to television reruns and media speculation of the best teams of yesteryear. I have watched every notable Muhammad Ali fight, every Super Bowl of note, and now find myself glued in front of the set viewing both tennis and golf matches from last year.

During one of my viewing sessions of old sports airings, I happened to flip on the Major League Baseball channel to watch the airing of the 1977 World Series Game 4 between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers. One of my best buddies and childhood friends is Lee Lacy, a former Dodger 2nd baseman, that played that day. So, I called Lee to give him a heads up that I would be watching the game. His reaction was the same as another good friend, Isaac Curtis, a retired wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals when I told him I’d be watching Super Bowl LIV. The funny thing is that both of my friends had the same answer, which was, “I already know the outcome.” They both lost in those championship games. We all shared a good laugh, and it became apparent that while showing those games of years past was great for nostalgia’s sake, there is not much to celebrate on what is happening today with live sports.

We are all hearing that any games played this year would not have spectators. Now you may wonder how that may work. I recently watched a televised tennis exhibition where the players played with only the chair umpire and line judges, but no ball kids and the stands were empty. It was odd, but something was better than nothing. In another case, Asia baseball teams are experimenting by playing in front of empty stadiums with some success, and it was recently announced that MLB may soon follow suit.

The elephant in the room remains, and that is that the risk of infection by Covid-19. The sports leagues’ ability to scrutinize social distancing and asymptotic carriers could still be an issue as players and staff come and go. They may have to prove that they are virus-free by frequent testing and temperature checks. Games will need to be televised without fans in the stands. It must be done if they want to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

Lastly, we all are going to have to modify how we interact with each other when it comes to playing sports. There will be very few, if any, high fives or fist bumps when playing. No more side hugs and chest bumps. Instead, we will find other ways to express our emotions. But be assured that all of this is in the short term while we wait on a vaccine or treatment of the virus.

Until then, stay hunkered down and be safe!