Opinion: Getting back to Sports can Wait, No Matter how Long it Takes
Written by Sean Fitzgerald on April 14, 2020
Photo Credit: NBC Sports
Anyone who knows me or has heard me on Black Squirrel Radio’s airwaves knows I’m a sports fan through and through. The fact that I’m writing this is completely surreal.
When I woke up on the morning of March 12 to go to Cleveland to cover Kent State Men’s Basketball in the MAC Tournament, to my surprise, the tournament had yet to be delayed, postponed or canceled. The previous night, the NBA had suspended its season following the announcement that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.
As I listened to sports talk radio on my way up to Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, I was nervous about what this rapid spreading would do to my life and the lives of others over the next few weeks and months.
As I pulled into the parking garage around 11:40 a.m. as word began to spread of cancellation following the game being delayed as the MAC tried to buy time, I parked and stayed in the car, communicating with fellow BSR staffers and others shooting updates out.
It wasn’t long after that the MAC Tournament was canceled. For me, that was the nail in the coffin. The virus was taking away the escape that we sports fans could rely on, and we had no clue when that escape would return.
The MLB, NHL, and several other colleges, high schools and professional leagues either suspended, canceled or postponed activities soon after.
The whole litany of changes to daily life, as well as sports itself, are too numerous to list here. So many lives have been changed or altered, and many have passed away.
As I have tried to write an offseason edition of my Where Things Stand series, I haven’t had the motivation I previously thought I would because there hasn’t been any significant sports action for weeks. I just want this whole crisis to end, like it was a bad dream.
But, we’re not living in a dream. We’re facing down reality. I’m taking my classes online and having to find the motivation to actually get my work done while staying at home. A once in a hundred years disease with no vaccine and no one being immune to this virus has me wondering if it’s even feasible for the NBA to wrap up its season with a few regular season games and a postseason.
How long is too long to wait for sports to resume?
The answer: However long it takes for life to be able to return to normalcy, and our lives safe from this invisible threat.
It drives me crazy every day that I can’t watch baseball live, that the NBA is on hiatus, and that the NFL has an ambitious goal of playing come September while the draft is televised this year because of the uncertain world we live in.
But the one thought that I keep coming back to is this: If we resume sports too early, how many people will get sick, or even die?
The notion that I have to think this way is the reason that it’s better to wait for sports to come back. In order to eliminate the risk of people dying or falling ill to the invisible enemy that is COVID-19, sports should not resume until 2021, if that is when we’ll have a vaccine on hand.
No life is worth losing over the resumption of sports until everyone is truly ready. When sports come back, it’ll be worth the wait.
Sean Fitzgerald is a member of the Black Squirrel Radio Sports Department and a Sports Coordinator. He co-hosts Pass the Mic Sports Talk, with a planned return for Fall 2020. Follow him on Twitter @fitzonsportsbsr for insights and occasional livestreams.