Last week I touched on the hard truth about high school athletics resuming in the fall and the chances of a normal season dwindling by the day. Today I want to touch on professional sports as well as college football beginning their practices, workouts and camps and why the information coming out of them is not good at the moment.
MLB has started their training camp to begin their season in two weeks. Many NBA teams are reporting to their “bubble” in Orlando. The NHL teams are beginning workouts, and college football players are beginning to report back to their respective schools. This all sounds great right? Yes and no. We are all longing for normalcy; longing for the nights we can sit down and watch sports again. We want that sense of comfort and excitement that sports brings us, especially in these trying times we are in today.
Positive COVID-19 tests are popping up everywhere amongst teams at every level in every sport. MLB spent months nailing down a deal with the players to resume play. They agreed to the deal along with the stipulations for the health and safety of the players. Well, that situation got off to a shaky start when players COVID-19 test results were delayed and personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves had still not arrived for some teams.
On Friday MLB announced that 31 players and seven staff members of the teams had tested positive on their original tests. Then on Saturday at least six more players, including four on the Atlanta Braves, tested positive. This resulted in more players opting out of the season, including the Dodgers David Price.
High profile players such as Mike Trout and Sean Doolitle are openly expressing their reluctance to play with the situation. If things do not get better you are going to see more players opting out of the season, and with that more high profile and important players.
The NBA had quite a few players opt out of their seasons as well. The NHL hasn’t seen that yet, but they also haven’t nailed down a deal on schedules and locations so maybe once that moves forward we will see more decisions.
Now to college football, remember when I said that the VHSL had floated an idea of moving the fall sports season to the spring? Well college football is not looking good right now to begin on schedule.
On Wednesday, 37 UNC football players tested positive, and they stopped all voluntary workouts. This after Clemson and LSU players were positive a few weeks ago.
The first block to fall in what we could see as a chain reaction of the entire season collapsing happened on Wednesday afternoon when the Ivy League canceled their entire fall sports season. Done, vanished, vamoose. They are currently hoping to play a spring season so postponed may be a better word but either way there will not be traditional fall football season for the Ivy League.
VMI was supposed to play Princeton on September 19, and Richmond was scheduled to play Yale on Oct. 17, so for two FCS teams in the commonwealth, they are going to have to do some scrambling to find replacement games unless the entire season is canceled or postponed which may be the more likely outcome.
It had been reported for weeks that this was going to happen. Athletic directors and university presidents had whispered that the Ivy League would be the first league to make this decision and that there would be many more to follow. Division two and three will probably be next followed by the FCS leagues, which the Ivy League plays in. FBS or Division 1 will be the last to make the decision because that’s where the money is. Those lucrative television contracts and other deals would hurt badly so they are going to hold out as long as they can.
This is all going to boil down to if the United States can get the coronavirus under control. There are more cases daily than there were at the first peak, and some states are producing numbers that are bigger than most countries. This is not a political statement at all. This virus isn’t political. It doesn’t pick and choose whom it infects or kills.
If we do not all do our part by wearing masks, socially distancing and following the rules and regulations that were set forth then we can’t continue to sit around and watch old concerts of The Eagles on ESPN instead of Sunday night baseball or any other live sporting event in America.
Wearing a mask is not a political statement. It is a statement to others that you take your health and their health seriously and that you are doing your part to help stop the coronavirus from spreading. This virus is real, it has wreaked havoc on the world and right now the United States is getting hit hard. We can never get back to normal, we can never reopen correctly, we can never watch or attend sporting events or anything else if we do not get this under control and the best way each individual citizen can do that is by washing your hands and wearing a mask.
I want sports back just as bad as anyone else, but I am also a realist and the realist in me knows that just because we want things to be normal, they aren’t necessarily going to be. Hopefully this will get better; hopefully sports will be able to continue without any interruptions, hopefully life can return to normal soon.