Trying to figure everything out as sports go on hiatus
Trying to figure everything out as
sports go on hiatus
The spread of coronavirus is creating all kinds of questions, all over the country.
And right now, there are far more questions than answers.
But in a week of unprecedented cancellations and concerns, one question came to me, and it’s one that hasn’t come up in my 16 years in this business:
What happens if there are no sports?
It’s not the main concern right now, nor should it be.
But as a writer, I often try to relate events to what has happened before.
Right now, I can’t think of anything that has affected the sports world quite like the spread of the coronavirus.
There have been wars, periods of upheaval and financial instability, and presidential assassinations.
But since the beginning of the 20th century, sports always have existed in some form, providing recreation — and perhaps distraction — from the sometimes grim realities of the outside world.
Some sports have been halted by tragedies.
But usually, something is going on.
The two World Wars stopped major golf tournaments for a while, but Major League Baseball pressed on, even without some of its biggest stars.
The National Football League played the weekend of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, though many now consider that a mistake.
Just about the only thing to stop sports were the events of Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorist attacks paused just about everything.
But that was only for about a week and a half. Everyone was still hurting, still mourning.
But play resumed.
This is different.
As concerns about the disease mounted, changes were made in swift, swift order.
On Tuesday, I found myself in Bowling Green, part of a huge crowd watching the Division IV boys basketball regional semifinal.
By then, there were murmurs about some major adjustments to the big tournaments.
But the game continued like so many others. The only difference was that afterward, I fist-bumped Calvert’s Nick Seifert in the press conference instead of shaking his hand.
Even by the next day, The A-T sports staff — like everyone else — was planning for regional and state contests.
The OHSAA individual state wrestling championships were to go on as scheduled, but with limited attendance.
It was to be the same for other indoor sports.
The turning point was Wednesday, when the NBA suspended its season. By Thursday, just about everything was off.
And we really don’t have any idea when it will be back on.
I trust Gov. Mike DeWine, OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass, and the group of people who made the decisions regarding state sports.
They have more information than we do. If they thought this was the best step, I think it’s best to trust them.
But it’s still stunning to be sitting here in the middle of March with no sports.
So what will we do now?
We’re going to try to bring you important local content, as always. We don’t know when or if winter or spring sports will resume, but we do know there are important stories out there, and we intend to bring them to you.
I’d like to say that’s what a sports writer does when there’s no sports.
But when I left my home today, I noticed something.
A mother was standing in her year, rolling a kickball to her young son.
It struck me that sports aren’t stopping.
They may be happening on a smaller scale, and they may be played on lawns instead of on fields.
But they remain.
A lot like us.
We persist, and we persevere.
Coronavirus may change a lot.
But it won’t change that.
Zach Baker is the sports editor for The Advertiser-Tribune.
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