Sports in a Global Pandemic

Gabby Molina ’21

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, various sports have struggled to determine the best way to handle their respective seasons. The NBA suspended their season and the NCAA canceled all remaining championships. The MLB canceled spring training. The NHL suspended its season, trying to find a solution to the cancellation of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Marathons have been postponed to the fall, as well as the Masters Tournament. The 2020 Olympic Games have been moved to July 2021. For the first time since 1947, the Little League World Series has been canceled.
With many professional leagues hoping to play their seasons, Dr. Anthony Fauci has given guidelines for these sports: no fans are permitted and isolating players in hotels is necessary.And, it seems that everyone is willing to follow these rules to bring their sports back.

The NHL, according to the New York Post, has altered their season to be “a 24-team tournament that would include a best-of-three play-in round.” NHL officials have yet to determine what safety measures will be put in place but are continuing to meet in order to hold a 2020 Stanley Cup championship. There is still no official timeline at this time.
The MLB’s newest proposal to the players’ union calls for a regular season, consisting of 80 games, starting in July. This “best-case scenario” plan, according to Masslive, would include a regionalized schedule, teams playing in their home fields, and an expanded playoff format, all of which would limit travel time and keep teams close to home.
The NBA also hopes to restart their season soon. According to The Riner, commissioner Adam Silver and his team have been “making contingency plans for every imaginable scenario for how the coronavirus pandemic might develop.” Many plans have been reported, and it is important to remember that they are all a possibility, depending on how the pandemic continues.

Perhaps the strangest response has come from the UFC’s Dana White. He has chosen to continue the fights as planned, most notably the UFC 249. When players and venues pulled out, he rearranged the cards, found a new venue in Florida, and moved the date to May 9. In terms of safety, he carefully followed Dr. Facui’s guidelines to protect his fighters. And, it seems that the fight felt surprisingly normal, according to an article from ESPN. The article notes that he “took the show on the road for an even more essential mission: to restore normalcy.” And it did. Saturday was fight night, just as it had always been.