There may be light on the horizon

There may be light on the horizon
June 17
15:12 2020

The sports world was flipped upside down in March when all athletic events were shut down due to COVID-19. At that time, I thought that we were going to have a short break and then everything go back to normal, but I was wrong. I couldn’t have imagined that we would have gone this long without sports, which has forced many of us sports fans to adjust.

Until I had to face the reality of not having any sports to cover or watch on television, I didn’t know how much my life revolved around sports. It was not so bad the first couple of weeks, but as the weeks grew into months, I really started to miss sports more and more. My appetite for sports was appeased a little by ESPN showing old games, along with the “Last Dance” documentary, but that wasn’t enough.

Outside of sports, I enjoy reading the occasional book, maybe playing a video game and spending time with family or friends, but I realized sports trumps them all. My job is to watch and write about sports and my part-time job as a referee is in the sports arena as well, so some days that is all I see. Luckily, we may have some sports returning sooner rather than later.

Day in and day out, we have seen plans from various leagues estimating a return to playing sports. Those dates have continually pushed back due to the pandemic, but the NBA seems to have put together a plan to start playing once again. Recently, the NBA’s Board of Governors voted to approve a resumption of the 2019-20 season on July 31 with 22 teams at a single-site location in Orlando.

This return to play does not include the entire league, however.  Only 22 teams will be invited to play. Why 22 teams you ask?  The NBA invited the 22 teams with the best records, regardless of conference, to Orlando, leaving out the remaining eight to stay at home. The Eastern Conference will have nine representatives, while the Western Conference will have 13.  

Under the NBA’s plan, the 22 teams will have eight games to get back into game shape and to settle where teams are seeded. The plan is to have the season end no later than early October.

There are some players that are on the bubble about playing due to the threat of contracting COVID-19. Adrian Wojnarowski, senior NBA insider, stated there were multiple conference calls between players expressing their concerns with one another over the weekend. The NBA and the NBA players association are agreeing on a plan that would allow players to stay home without consequences. Of course, these games would be played without any fans and players are not allowed to have visitors until after the first round of the playoffs.

It will be difficult for the NBA to try and protect all their players due to the nature of the sport that causes players to be in close proximity every play. NASCAR, on the other hand, has the advantage of being a more socially distant sport, outside of the pit crews. NASCAR resumed races almost a month ago, with no fans of course, because of the nature of their sport. They have a big advantage over most other sports, because their athletes are isolated inside cars.

NASCAR was only on hiatus for about two months, but has had the luxury of coming back before any of the other major sports leagues. It will be interesting to see how fans will react to the new ban on Confederate flags when they are allowed back in the stands.

NASCAR and the NBA are not the only leagues that are trying a return this summer. Major League Baseball (MLB) is looking to return sometime soon. Earlier this year, they were looking to return in late May, but that timetable was pushed back for several reasons. Now, MLB is having trouble deciding on how many games will be played and the players’ salaries for the shortened season. I hope these issues are remedied so we can get back to seeing the best in the world play the sport.

It’s too early to tell whether the NFL will start on time, but I hope so. 

This has been an interesting time in sports. My hope is that the powers that be can figure out how to give us the games we love to see, even if we are not allowed to sit in the stands.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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