By Orrin Farries
As of Thursday March 12, 2020, all organized sporting activities have been suspended.
The cascade of sports cancellations came to the Alberta Collegiate Athletics Conference by way of the social leadership shown by the National Basketball Association, who suspended all play following the positive COVID-19 test result of a player. Following in the NBA’s footsteps were all of the other major sporting associations, even those not currently in season followed suit by suspending clubhouse activities to express their solidarity.
These acts of community stewardship by the sporting world’s big players put pressure on smaller sporting bodies to suspend activity as well. These developments come as a shock to many athletes and sporting fans alike, who are now left with a temporary hole in their souls and many questions for the governing bodies of their sports.
Why should sports have been suspended? This question requires an empathetic approach in answering, but in essence sports are a trivial thing of distraction for us from the discomforting realities of life.
The reality of life right now necessitates our compliant attention to the discomfort that is being globally felt, and a big part of that is not going out of our way to congregate en masse. Mass congregation is one of the tenets of the sporting world that is grossly incongruent with community pandemic response, so unfortunately sports have to make like Kapernick and take a knee.
What happens to the seasons of sport that have been suspended? This could go a number of ways. At the collegiate level, where many young athletes are being told their season is over and there will be no postponement of competition, that the reality may be just that bleak.
There is hope that the pandemic we are currently experiencing will get better as a result of the prudent global response to halt large gatherings. Will it happen in time for college sports? I would not put any money on it.
After calling for the suspension of all games, NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s first address assured the public that the suspension would be for a minimum of 30 days. Soon after that first address that number jumped to 60 days. If that is any sort of indicator for the levels of competition beneath it, then it is inconceivable that we get to see March Madness in May or June. As much as I would like to see them rebrand March Madness as ‘May Mayday’ or ‘June Lunacy’ as a one-off, it feels like this season has been laid to rest.
Life has been pretty complicated since sports have been cancelled. Sportspersons across the globe have had to find out what makes up their identities outside of the games they play and sports fans have had to find something else to do with their time. These are troubling times, but we can take solace that even in the midst of uncertainty and tedium, that the sports world did the right thing by hanging it up for now.
“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.”