Let’s stop entertaining the notion that sports like baseball, basketball, football and hockey can be played effectively during the coronavirus pandemic and suspend all TEAM sports and their activities for the remainder of 2020.
Until there is a cure for the COVID-19 virus or at least a globally recognized method of treatment, we are nurturing the pandemic to grow with inadequate constraints. The numbers are staggering. The global count is over half a million people have died from the coronavirus.
Or to put it in sports terms, that is the equivalent of college football fans attending five home games at University of Michigan’s Stadium in Ann Arbor. (The seating capacity of “The Big House” is 107,600 people.)
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert at the National Institutes of Health, told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Tuesday that “new coronavirus infections could increase to 100,000 a day if the nation doesn’t get its surge of cases under control.”
I love sports, but there’s a time when we need to rely on common sense. Team sports require close-distance communication, cooperation and the performance of a cohesive group of athletes as one unit.
Do I need to see the Clippers or the Lakers win the NBA title in 2020? No. I can wait until 2021 if it preserves the lives of my son and daughter-in-law who are physicians working on the front lines of the pandemic.
Do I really need to see 60 games of Major League Baseball to determine who makes the playoffs and eventually wins the MLB title? No. It’s like holding a hot dog eating contest and giving each contestant two dozen hot dogs to eat in the first round. Neither the contestants nor the fan base are going to be totally satisfied until the second round.
At least my hometown Detroit Red Wings can prepare for the 2020-21 National Hockey League (NHL) season without fretting over the 2020 NHL playoffs and championship series.
And how are football players in the National Football League supposed to maintain social distancing when they participate in a “collision” sport? Can you imagine the NFL coming up with the professional equivalent of flag football?
You can say I’m being fatalistic or unrealistic. I just don’t want hear stories about a wife of a professional athlete who is told that she or one of her children tested positive for the coronavirus, because daddy brought it home from work. One message has been crystal clear in the last two months – “All Lives Matter.”
“We’ve got to get that message out that we are all in this together,” said Dr. Fauci during his congressional testimony Tuesday. “And if we are going to contain this, we’ve got to contain it together.”
In this era of sports entertainment, we need the upsets, the over-achievers, the “have nots” and the champions. But are we a nation incapable of taking a year off of team sports at all levels?
It is better to be healthy and ready to compete in 2021 than to fight in an inadequately prepared battle with a lethal virus in 2020. We need to believe and act that all life is precious and respond to this pandemic united in securing a cure and applying a global method of treatment.