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  • Anthony J. Mungin

COVID-19 Stymies the Game we all Know and Love

Updated: Dec 22, 2021

The middle ground between safety, social distancing, masking, and our sport addictions for the game of inches.

Many may be wondering about the sports world; particularly, what is occurring behind the scenes with COVID-19 cases and death tolls constantly on the rise. How are athletes managing themselves especially upon witnessing their fellow ballers succumb?

But we would be remissed in overlooking America’s addicted fans who are also battling sports withdrawals. They too have been hard-pressed for something to fill the void. It has been a minute since the US has seen sold-out stadiums jampacked with rambunctious fans, sporting swanky jerseys with face colored in war paint.

These days, fans are subsisting on virtual sightings of bored-stiffed players engaged in table-hockey or foosball matches or tossing wadded papers into waste baskets from 3-point range. No doubt, fans are baring the weightiness of athletes anxiously awaiting the day an angry pandemic bites the dust and releases them from their angst.

Many find themselves desperately seeking answers as to exactly how long it will it take the National Football League, National Basketball Association, the Major Baseball League and other sport entities to rebound from this lingering plague. Alas, it is not a question to which the League of Legends can so easily respond whilst being at the mercy of an unforgiving pandemic. All that owners really know is that the rust is settling in, and players are desperate to resume participation in a sport they know and love.

Sports have been in and around us for almost 3000 years. The sports business, as it is today, has occupied a main force in the world for nearly four decades. With a deadly pandemic on the rise, this is likely the first time we have ever seen the sports industry buckling to its knees with an increasing amount of pressure to thrive in the face of a global catastrophe.

The NBA, NHL, MBL, and NFL have all been involved in the development and perpetuation of the sports industry, never foreseeing a need for a major overhaul of this magnitude. The unanticipated onset of a vicious pandemic has forced all leagues and associations into making hard decisions and devising tough safety precautions which inevitably will impact the game. Exactly how these changes will look or come about remains to be seen.

It is widely anticipated that changes on the horizon will entail modifying the apparel; the message; and, the level of contact the fanbase and other stakeholders will have with these gladiators.

That is to say, mandated masks, face shields, latex gloves; social distancing, forbidden handshakes, chest bumps, and group hugs; and, a stark realization that COIVID-19 has deadly prongs, reaching far and wide.

It is also fair to say that the pandemic will lead to an increased level of expectation and intensity of which the sport is played, once it resumes. More than this, America’s fans will undoubtedly expect some form of recompense for their inconveniences.

There may be a whole number of reasons for these expectancies. People feel cheated and slighted, by all that was lost when an invisible, stinky virus crept into our space. Undoubtedly, they’ve been left in limbo with no remedy for the addiction; no worthy replacement for a game that brought unity in the face of divisiveness; no escape hatch from problems that seemed greatly diminished when the game was on.

In any case, the National Basketball Association, National Football League, Major League Baseball are among the largest sporting entities in the world. Suffice it to say, these entities have become the global leaders in the sports industry. So how in the face of a pandemic does sports survive in the United States and globally around the world?

Athletes wearing masks, is a great departure from the norm and brings about a wave of speculations. How will they breathe? How will they concentrate? How will they function? To what extent will latex gloves and face shields cloud their senses? The real answer is, “We won’t know, until we know.”

But in as much as coaches have benefited from assimilating loud noise into their practice; won games with no-look passes; attained championship rings with three pointers and alley-oops, and, won pennant on the heels of stolen bases, we expect preventive measures and anti-COVID-19 schemes will become a part of the X’s and O’s of the game. To be planned, practiced, and executed with precision.

What we can also expect that mask-wearing athletes are best at perpetuating this new normal; meanwhile, setting a positive example around world. We expect these masked Zorro’s will mask up! Take to the gridiron! Play the game of inches! Protect themselves—and others—at all times will giving the sports addicts the game they demand!

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