From the Press Box: The show must go on, until it shouldn’t
Not since the devastating events of 9/11 have I seen a nationwide stoppage of sports at every level.
It is important to note that there is this unfortunate politicizing of the COVID-19, popularly known at the Coronavirus. Whether you’re a republican, democrat, conservative, liberal, Christian, agnostic or you just plain don’t care about anything, this isn’t an issue to be taken lightly.
It is also important to note the people making the decisions to cancel all of these sports and events are not what conspiracy theorists like to call “sheeple” just following the trend of “fear-mongering” by the media. They are intelligent people who are talking to state and federal medical experts about what the proper course of action is and how they should proceed with plans.
The job of the media is to inform you of what is being told. We aren’t all CNN, FoxNews or any other organization you (the general public) choose to associate as the enemy.
Chicken Little hasn’t come and said the sky is falling, but there are human lives at stake during this process. I will now step off that soap box and on to my other, more fun soap box.
Being a casual sports fan, there is some disappointment as the proverbial first domino fell on Wednesday when NBA suspended their season, starting a cascade of other falling dominos in NHL, PGA, MLB and what has rumored to even be NASCAR.
As disappointed as I am, it is understandable why the sports leagues would do this. While COVID-19 is reportedly only fatal to the elderly, think about the sports fans who spend time with their grandparents or elderly parents.
Say someone goes to a game, is exposed to the virus, goes home or goes to grandma’s later that day for a barbecue and has now put that person at risk.
Say this cycle continues on Opening Weekend of baseball, the highest-attending weekend in baseball besides July 4 weekend, and now hundreds of thousands of lives have been affected.
The NCAA tournament also generally happens over Spring Break. Let’s not forget that besides the student body, the most hardcore college sports fans are their alumni, many of which include fans aged north of 50 when the mortality rate begins to escalate.
Yes, to most people the symptoms are respiratory-based and more people die every year from the seasonal flu than COVID-19. But COVID-19 is three times more likely to spread than the seasonal flu because there is no vaccine for it, therefore the people that follow the instructions in the fall to “get their flu shot” are also at risk.
While the commercialization of sports, sports betting and fantasy sports will be rocked by these decisions to cancel/suspend/postpone and most of the time “the show must go on.” There are times when human safety trumps (see what I did there?) sports and competition.
Everyone be safe and be smart out there.
John Lee is the editor of The Pampa News and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter: @jcl1987.