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Home / Articles / Columnists / Sports Feature /  Ready or Not, Here They Come (we hope)
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Monday, August 3,2020

Ready or Not, Here They Come (we hope)

By Mark Tudino  

As difficult as it is at times, especially in this pandemic age, our job is to inform – and hopefully entertain – the readers of this column. Yet, given the events of the last 4 months, it’s hard to focus on the passion and importance of sports, given the status of the world’s health in response to Covid-19, especially here in the United States, and particularly in South Florida. With infection rates spiking like a rocket’s trajectory (and the experts tell us the lagging indicator is always death rates), trying to get excited about Major League Baseball, or the NFL, seems trivial at best, and insensitive and small-minded at worst.

But our duty is to present the current state of the sporting landscape– not what we wish it to be –despite what the evidence suggests may be its ultimate fate. With that in mind, the title of the column is aproposas most professional leagues have decided to plow ahead and try to play some sort of a season. Funny thing is by the time you read this, much of what was planned may be in the wind if test results inside the so-called “bubbles”, created by the professional sports to insulate the athletes, coaches and staff, fail to achieve their goal of protecting those folks. Remember, at its essence the rules will only work if everyone abides by them; all it takes is for one or two players to decide they want something else to eat, or want unauthorized friends to visit them, for the whole house of cards to collapse. Even more sobering is the possibility all obey the ground rules but players, or more likely, coaches, test positive; what happens then? At what point does the positivity rate (that is the number of people testing positive compared to the number of people tested) compel each league to shut it down? Worse still, what happens when one or more of these people who tests positive is hospitalized, or God forbid, dies after contracting the virus? The resulting cacophony of panic and blame would almost certainly shutter whatever sports remained open, mostly because athletes, and families of those athletes, would resist any attempt to force them to play and possibly contract the virus.

So where does that leave us? Well, for now like this: July 23rd and 24th, MLB is set to resume play in certain locales; on July 30th, the NBA plans on resume its season inside the Orlando “bubble”; the next day the NHL plans on resuming its season in two cities, Edmonton in the West and Toronto in the East. All the while, executives from all major college conferences and the NFL will be paying close attention to what transpires. Already, other sports like NASCAR, MMA and the PGA Tour have resumed play but with no fans in attendance.

Thus here we are, kind of like a golfer aiming at a green he or she cannot see, a sort of hit-itand-hope kind of scenariowhere you pray for the best but brace for the worst. If any reader has a special good luck charm, or special prayer, now would be the time to use it because this experiment fails it may be awhile before we’re discussing game results, and not the results which cause states to shut down.

Fingers crossed, folks, fingers crossed.


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