The Sports World vs. COVID-19

The first COVID-19 case was reported on November 17, 2019 in the Chinese province, Hubei. Eventually, the virus spread to the rest of the world, leading to a global pandemic. The United States, specifically New York and our home state of New Jersey, have been suffering from sometimes thousands of cases per day and a shortage of ppe for healthcare workers.

Our everyday lives have been turned upside-down as millions of American companies put workers on furlough. BCA students had to turn to virtual schooling as schools shut down to prevent further spread of COVID-19. As the cases continued to rise and more people were infected, regulations, such as social distancing, began to emerge. Americans were told to avoid large gatherings and to stay 6 feet apart from one another. The entertainment world, like the sports world, was greatly affected by the spread of COVID-19.

But the sports world too has been deeply affected. The downward spiral began with NBA player Rudy Gobert, the first person in the league to test positive for the coronavirus. After the incident, the NBA suspended their league for the rest of the 2020 season. On March 11th at 9:30 PM EST, the league released a statement: “The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.” This was according to the New York Post.

Basketball fans had  been hoping for a continuation of the beloved March Madness tournament, despite the fact that it would be played in an empty stadium. However, the NY Daily News reported that the NCAA president, Mark Emmert, stated, “I have made the decision to conduct our upcoming championship events, including the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, with only essential staff and limited family attendance.” The little glimmer of hope fans had had for the 2020 tournament was extinguished after the March Madness tournament was officially canceled for the first time since the creation of the event in 1938.

The New York Post reported: “The need for the historic and preventative measure was illustrated when it was later revealed that a game official who worked in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament tested positive for coronavirus, but didn’t exhibit symptoms of the virus until 72 hours after the game. Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg caused distress, as well, while appearing ill and exiting Wednesday’s Big Ten Tournament. His team was briefly quarantined in its locker room before Hoiberg tested negative for coronavirus, but the scene demonstrated the potential consequences of continuing the postseason.”

Many other sport leagues all over the world followed in the NCAA’s and NBA’s example. The MLB pushed back its Opening Day from March 26th to April 9th at the earliest. The current state of the pandemic pushed back Opening Day. even further. Originally, Opening Day was supposed to be held in Cincinnati, where Opening Day had been held multiple times throughout the MLB’s history.

Baseball, America’s favorite pastime, allowed for the American public to find joy in times of strife as seen in World War II with the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Other sports leagues around the world, such as the Premier League and Champions League, eventually shut down for the remainder of the 2020 season.

The 2020 Summer Olympics expected to be held in Tokyo, from July 24th to August 9th were  postponed until  the summer of 2021, marking just another instance in which the COVID-19 pandemic was pushing back a sports event that many had been looking forward to. However, the Olympics scheduled for the 2021 year will still be called the 2020 Olympics.

Sports fans have been disappointed, but  it is the  young athletes across  the country who have been truly saddened by the cancellation of activities. The chaos caused by the pandemic has made parents and leagues weary about continuing their respective sports events. As a result, many of these leagues have postponed or canceled their 2020 season. In addition, many teams have canceled their practices, giving athletes the option to do their workouts separately.

Many have used technology as a tool to connect everyone. Others have used this time as a chance to increase  team bonding by creating Tik Toks. The Bergen Knights hopped onto this trend. Both the Girls LAX team and Softball team shared Tik Toks of each other staying connected while apart.

However, while some have found a way to deal with the season’s cancellations, others have been  unable to do the same. High school senior athletes have expressed their regret and disappointment on different social media platforms, such as Tik Tok and Twitter about the cancellation of some of their final high school sports events.

Yet, the future shows some hope as the New York Time states that residents of Hubei were allowed to leave their homes on Wednesday, March 25th, after nearly two months of lock down. Hopefully by following self-quarantining procedures and avoiding public places, we will be able to get back to our normal lives–lives in which athletes are able to take the field and fans are able to cheer on their beloved teams.

Check out these websites for a more specific look at certain events mentioned: