The Pandemic’s Effect on Sports

At SHP, sports are fundamental in most students’ lives. From playing sports to watching
them either from the stands or on TV, they are a core feature in many of our lives. However,
COVID-19 has abruptly stopped this joy in our lives. Every popular professional league was
shut down, Spring sports at The Prep were canceled, and the academic year is coming to a
close virtually.
After sitting on the sidelines for two months, professional sports have recently begun to
trickle back into our lives. On Saturday May 16, the German soccer league, Bundesliga,
reopened for games. Six games were played on Saturday, two games were played on Sunday
May 17, and one more game was played on Monday, March 18. Although the players were
able to resume playing their sports, there was a caveat — these games were played in empty
stadiums. The absence of cheering fans was certainly something new for the players.
Watching games played in empty arenas is having some unexpected benefits for us. Players’
chatter, coaches’ commentaries and cleats making contact with the ball are now greatly
amplified for the TV viewer. These added nuances had never been possible to hear from the
luxury of one’s couch. Watching sports in these times makes the couch-sitter feel like he has
sideline seats, or is even playing on the pitch.
The Korean Baseball Organization League (KBO League) has also resumed but still has
some caveats. First, it is difficult for American viewers to catch the games because of the time
change. Most games are being played when it is 1:00 AM, 4:00 AM, or 5:30 AM Eastern
Standard Time. Also, some stadium seats are occupied with photos of fans since practically no
attendees (aside from Korean Baseball superfan Santa Grandfather) are allowed in the stadium.
Cheerleaders are present, situated on top of the dugouts, and wearing masks. The umpires are
also wearing masks.
Interested in a return of the NBA? June 1st is the deadline for the League
Commissioner, Adam Silver, to publish the guidelines on returning. On Twitter, reporters have
been buzzing about the NBA’s possible return spots. According to ESPN reporters Adrian
Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe, the apparent reopening plan pegs Disney World and Las Vegas
as the only places for NBA games to be held.
Aside from closing down professional sports worldwide, COVID-19 brought about
another change for sports fans. It expedited the anticipated release of an important
documentary: The Last Dance. This documentary centers on Michael Jordan, who is one
of the greatest NBA players of all time. The Last Dance sneaks the viewer into the world of
Brooklyn-born Michael Jordan, positioning the viewer side-by-side with this 6 and a half foot
guard/forward. The key to the documentary’s appeal is that it features never-seen-before
content, shot from behind the scenes. Glimpses into Michael Jordan’s life are depicted from
places such as the team locker room, the team’s bus and airplane. Besides witnessing
exclusive footage, the viewers are being told stories directly from Jordan’s teammates,
regarding events that happened. The majority of NBA fans have heard of Michael Jordan’s so-
called “Flu Game.” This refers to his stellar performance in the NBA Finals with 38 points, 7
rebounds, and 5 assists, while having the flu, or so everyone thought. On Episode 9 of The

Last Dance, Michael shares with the audience that he was actually suffering from food
poisoning from a pizza that he had ordered the night before.
The Coronavirus pandemic has shown the world the devastating effects a microscopic
virus can wreak. This virus, although small in size has successfully grounded dozens of sports,
hundred of teams and millions of fans. Although the worldwide sports shut-down is slowly
coming to an end, it is certain that the newly emerging sports world will be quite different.