Ever think that this whole situation was a dream, pinching yourself on a regular basis?
Well, this is the real deal.
The world that we have come to know has shut down and you are being told to stay at home, only to leave for essential necessities or jobs, and stay six feet away from everyone. This process would be okay to handle if we had our main sports still in action, but all major sports leagues have shut down play until further notice.
This means, Opening Day for Major League Baseball (MLB), the playoffs for the National Basketball Association (NBA), or the biggest one around this time, March Madness for college basketball each hasn’t happened and we are left watching highlights from games that have stood out in our minds.
The NBA was the first to take initiative.
On March 11, 2020 NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that the league was suspending the season until further notice after two players had tested positive for the coronavirus. At this point, the NBA is unsure if they are going to finish the season. Players from the league took to social media after finding out the news, all understanding the decision that was made and making sure that everyone is staying home and staying safe so that they could get back to doing what they love — playing in front of thousands of fans in the stands and millions that would watch on television.
A day later, the MLB commissioner announced that they were delaying the start of the 2020 season.
They were taking the precautions with spring training happening as they discussed the options and the start of the vigorous 162-game season right around the corner. The MLB has already had a busy 2020. In January, the league handed down suspensions to the Houston Astros after they were found to have cheated in the 2017 World Series.
The NFL, with their season not scheduled to start until the 10th of September, suspended their off-season workouts indefinitely.
The big thing that was left standing in the minds of teams and fans is “what are they going to do with the rookie draft?”
The NFL announced on March 16 that they were canceling the in-person draft scheduled to take place in front of the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and that they would only have essential people at the venue. The league then changed their minds and instead had the first-ever virtual draft.
Many other sports have either suspended or canceled their seasons.
The NCAA has made the decision to cancel the remainder of the winter activities and canceling the rest of the spring season. One thing that the NCAA did do was those athletes which were not able to compete during their spring seasons were given an extra year of eligibility, meaning you would have another opportunity to come back next season and compete with your teammates for a championship.
The one sport that we have been able to watch every week like it has never left was NASCAR — after their partnering with a company called iRacing to hold their races virtually. Some of you may have heard of the online company, or even caught one or more of the races that they have had on television.
This company has taken all of the popular race tracks and put them into a platform where regular people can sign up for a race on these “real” tracks just like the pros, but from their own living rooms or spare rooms. iRacing reached out to NASCAR and threw out the idea of getting some of the pro drivers and race once-a-week at the track they were supposed to race at that week. NASCAR and many of the drivers agreed and became one of the top trends on Twitter during their first race at Homestead-Miami.
Other leagues have gotten some players to play mini-tournaments using their own sport’s video game.
Yes, these times have been very difficult for all of us and the sporting events that we wish to be at right now are not happening. We are all sitting at home not knowing what to do with ourselves, but if you want to get back out to the ballgame or watch the ball go through the net in person, we have to take these precautions so that when the opportunity comes we can all get back together supporting our teams, cheer, go crazy and let the five-year-old in each of us enjoy what we have missed for so long.
Seth Pluta is from Wellington, Ohio. He graduated from Black River High School in 2017 and now attends Shawnee State University. Seth is majoring in sports management with a focus in communication and is also a member of the Shawnee State baseball team.