Sports have been eliminated from our day-to-day lives. A scenario that seemed inconceivable just a few weeks ago is a currently the “new normal.” Today, tomorrow, and for the foreseeable future, there are no sporting events.
Our country has never encountered a sports stoppage of this magnitude – not even close. During World War II, the winter and summer Olympics, the Masters, and Indianapolis 500 were cancelled. Major League Baseball postponed all of its games for six days following the September 11 attacks and was followed by the National Football League, NASCAR, the PGA Tour, and several other professional organizations.
But this is far different. It’s unparalleled because collegiate, scholastic, and youth level sports have also come to a standstill. There are no high school games, Little League tryouts, or travel team practices. The fields, courts, swimming pools, tracks, and gymnasiums are empty.
For every coach, mom, or dad who has consoled an athlete in despair and said, “Hey, it’s going to be okay. It’s not life or death,” they have been validated. While sports play an important role in people’s lives, it’s only a role. When push comes to shove, health, safety, family, friends, employment, and education are the essentials that matter most.
But man, do we miss sports.
Why do we miss sports? Why is there a noticeable void? On surface, it’s a distraction. It’s something to do, somewhere to go, someone to watch, something to talk about. But it’s much more than that.
Sports provide excitement, suspense, elation, and anguish. They make us feel alive. From 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, we don’t clap, we don’t pump our fists, nor do we bury our heads in our hands. Those are the types of reactions reserved for athletic events. The adrenaline rush, the passion, and competitive juices are feelings difficult to replicate while in school clothes or business suits.
Sports will return and when they do, the hope is that there will be a realigned sense of appreciation and enjoyment. Many would agree that there are peripheral components that have spun out of control – athlete branding, overzealous parents, Instagram followers, 24/7 talk shows, “elite” travel program expenses, and sports betting. If there is a positive takeaway from this mandatory pause, perhaps it’s that we’re able to hit “reset” and regain perspective on why sports are so enriching.
I know I can’t wait to see my daughter out on the field again, much like every other parent wants to see their kid(s) play. She doesn’t need to score, stroke a double, or win. I just want to see her run out on the field with a big smile on her face.
It’s not life or death, but it’s a great part of living.
P.S. – To all the high school senior athletes, I’d trade my daughter’s spring and summer seasons in exchange for you getting one more day in uniform. Our fingers remained crossed for all of you.