In a matter of days, games and matches were cancelled indefinitely across all major sports. From the collegiate level to the pros, the ball stopped rolling. Hell, you couldn’t even shoot hoops at your local park. Of course, this all came as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Things got bleak for sports fans fast. Suddenly there was nothing to watch on TV after work, if you were still working. It had been a tough year for fans already with the loss of major sports figures, and the cancellations didn’t make things any easier. Fans had to be content with watching reruns of the major games. Others tried watching less popular sports on TV. Memes were quickly dispersed of people cheering on a bowling match. Then the Michael Jordan documentary, The Last Dance, arrived and it was a blessing that tied many sport fans over for the time being.
Now, months later, the highest names in the sports world are coming together and working to determine just how and when various sports leagues can reopen. When and if they do return, sporting events will not come back the same. For example, the NBA has announced that scrimmages will be held at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Only 22 teams will participate in a playoff format slated to begin at the end of July. While players wait for the season to restart, they are subject to regular testing for the coronavirus and must remain inside the “Bubble” until the season is over, or they are otherwise permitted to leave.
Other sports have already resumed. Soccer in Germany restarted in mid-May and the final was played at the beginning of July. Games were played without fans, along with a health protocol in place. Spain’s La Liga wrapped up on July 16th, with a 2-1 victory in Real Madrid’s favor.
Back here in the U.S. things are moving more slowly, and in some cases stopped altogether. Unfortunately, the U.S. is experiencing a massive second wave of COVID-19 infections. And we have failed to get things under control. For reasons such as this some have chosen to wait even longer to try to restart. The Ivy League recently announced that all sports are canceled throughout the Fall.
Meanwhile, players and competitors around the world are at home with more time on their hands than they’re used to. Some professional players have turned to other hobbies, like streaming themselves playing video games online. At one point during quarantine, virtual tournaments of athletes playing video games were televised. Of course, it wasn’t as exciting as watching real athletes compete, but it was something to pass the time and talk to your friends about.
One day sports will come back to a more regular schedule. And when they do come back, we’ll be able to appreciate them even more than before.