By Barry Hirshfeld
With the ever-present threat of infection from coronavirus looming on the horizon, people need sports now more than ever. After five months of confinement, the public desires a sense of normalcy; a return to routine activities. Professional sports do just that; they are of the most common and enjoyable pastimes around the world, and have the ability of unifying individuals while instilling a sense of normalcy in people’s lives.
The return of the NBA on July 30th featured an accelerated end to the regular season, and the very anticipated playoffs. The league decided to conduct gameplay in a bubble format, where the 22 teams who qualified for the bubble based on record live and play their games in Disney World Orlando with virtual fans in attendance, and social isolation from the outside world. Other professional sports leagues, such as the NFL which returned on September 10th, are exercising minimal efforts to combat the spread of the virus. They plan to play their games with a decreased amount of fans in attendance; the first game was played in a stadium at 22% capacity, and furthermore, the league does not limit the social interactions of the players, endangering their health. The MLB returned on July 23rd, and although they do not allow fans to attend the games in person, they do not restrict the social interactions of the league’s players. One very important safety precaution that is being taken in every professional sports league that has returned is that players receive daily testing for the coronavirus, and check-ups to ensure their health. Although these precautions pale in comparison to those of the NBA, they seem sufficient at this time.
Currently, these sports and their fans are heavily benefiting from the resumption of their seasons, and will continue to do so as long as the leagues and their athletes take necessary safety precautions to ensure their health and halt the spread of the virus.