Most of us want sports back, especially if you happen to be reading a sports column that you potentially found on a sports fan page. Most sports leagues are trying to accommodate that wish. Now, I’m not saying they’re doing this for some altruistic reason, they want to recoup as much money as they possibly can and preserve the integrity of the leagues, they have worked so hard building.
There is something that just has to be broached, and it is of course COVID-19. When I say embrace the inevitable, I’m not telling you that you must like the fact that some players or personnel are going to contract the virus, far from it. No, I mean the literal definition of embrace. We must get our arms around it and come to grips with the fact it can’t be avoided.
Legitimately, here are the options. 1. Wait for a vaccine. 2. Play.
I’m sure everyone will do their very best to stay safe and every player will do the best they can to keep their families safe as well. None of that is going to prevent it entirely. I don’t even mean necessarily that the players who do come down with it will get sick per se so much as test positive. When they do, some will jump up and down with I told you so’s and damning the leagues for ignoring science or whatever standard fare you like, but the player will simply be quarantined, and the league will move on.
This is exactly what played out in European Soccer and its what will happen here too. Again, I don’t get giddy thinking like this, but I like preparing myself for what is coming and if we get through all these restarts without a positive test, either the safety protocols are years above what the CDC can even come up with or the leagues are better at hiding things from the public than any of us would believe.
I say the leagues will continue regardless simply because if they were going to bow to public pressure, they wouldn’t be restarting at all. MLB and the NFL have more challenges than the NBA and NHL in my mind simply because they are still going to travel. MLB has mitigated that slightly by scheduling based on geography, but hey, just being honest, I wouldn’t drive to St. Louis right now, you dig?
Players are not one massive body that all feel and think the same way. It’s part of why I hate when politicians target the “black” vote or the “women” like somehow being black or female means you have to fall into some bucket of agreement. Some players don’t want to play, many of those will begrudgingly either for their brand, or some money, maybe even for a chance at an elusive championship. Other players desperately just want to get back to what they do best, play. Nobody wants to feel like the Ferrari in Ferris Buehler. What is crucial is that no matter which way they lean, each individual must adhere to all the safety protocols as strictly as they can.
All along this process we’ve been living with, most of the players have remained in the relatively safe zone at least when it comes to age and relative health. These are fine tuned athletes and for the most part they would all recover nicely, with of course distinction given to those who have chronic conditions or loved ones who do. Pile on top of that the mortality rate continuing to drop right along with hospitalization rates.
Does any of this make it safe? Nah, but then again, the facilities they will spend most time in might be the safest places to be in the country. I thought for quite some time we might not get sports back this year, now I’m convinced they will be back, and furthermore will be here to stay. Right or wrong, its going forward, and I’m going to let myself enjoy it. Will you?