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Home / Articles / Columnists / Sports Feature /  Bored? Sorry, It’s Too Soon to Return
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Tuesday, June 2,2020

Bored? Sorry, It’s Too Soon to Return

By Mark Tudino  
Ok, so you’re like me and bored to death with the offerings on television when it comes to sports. Yeah, the Jordan documentary was cool and somewhat insightful, especially when you examine how ego and selfishness essentially derailed the NBA’s dynasty of the 90s and essentially forced the sport’s greatest player to retire prematurely; but as the man once said, “pride goeth before the fall.” Still, you miss the vibe and excitement of live sporting events. After all, it’s June – we’re supposed to be arguing about the NBA Finals, crowning a Stanley Cup or worrying why our respective baseball teams are underachieving. But these are not normal times, and our expectations need to be adjusted accordingly. If you are among the many now clamoring, either by momentum or by sheer force of mass will, for the return of some sort of regular sporting activity, you would not be alone.

And you’d be wrong. See, what many have failed to grasp during this entire pandemic is the virus is immune to political and economic realities. In fact, the only reality it recognizes is the unsurpassed ability to infect and kill tens of thousands of people in a short period of time. As of this writing, more than 81,000 of our fellow U.S. citizens have succumbed to this disease, and the victims represent all ages, sexes and ethnic backgrounds. Now sports are unusual in that much of its core action is premised on close-up, bodyto-body, contact – exactly the type of activity that allows the virus to thrive. Still, commissioners of the NBA, NHL and MLB are in the process of scheduling some sort of return to competition, despite the fact that leading epidemiologists have warned that a too early re-entry could mean an explosion of new cases. So why do it then? Easy, one word: money – but not for the reasons you suspect.

You see, on its face, certain sports would seem ideal for a return to some form of play; golf, tennis and even baseball have on the surface a setup that would seem to minimize close-up contact. But upon further review, that’s not true. Think about how any sporting event is conducted, especially the referees, umpires and sporting officials who oversee play. Those folks must be in close proximity to the players; in golf, volunteers, tournament officials and even scorers must be present to ensure the competition is conducted fairly and professionally. And what about the broadcast situation? How can TV or radio personnel and their support staff work their jobs knowing they could be exposed to the virus, just by being in the same area as someone who may be infected (and may not even know it). I suspect, without knowing for sure, each of these leagues has contingency plans that allow them to continue even if multiple players test positive. But how many is too many people before you pull the plug again? And how will the sporting public react to having their sports taken away yet again? These are imponderables which none of us can answer, and if you cannot do so, then the only answer is to hold off for now. Will it be hard? You bet – but until we get widespread and easily available testing and contact tracing, so that confidence returns to the general public, we have no choice but to do what we’ve been doing – and doing successfully in many cases.



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