As the effects of COVID-19 have surely changed our lives, it has also changed the manners in which the professional sports world operates.
In March of this year we had to see leagues put a pause on their seasons. From basketball to baseball and soccer, the leagues were in a state of delay.
Fast forward six months we have all now witnessed attempts of normalcy as we witnessed “The Bubble” NBA finals occur while at the same time seeing soccer, baseball, hockey and even football start up their seasons.
Never have we seen a majority of professional sports being played at the same time, and now the question all sports fans probably are asking themselves as we end near the start of a new year is, “what is going to happen with our professional sports?”
This really isn’t a yes or no question on if a season will start a certain day and end a certain day; it’s in a very gray area of maybe this time the season will start or possibly this day.
We must all understand the matters of how COVID can still cause major spikes of cases worldwide and effect ultimately everything moving forward.
The NBA just announced their plans to officially start their (2020-2021) season on Dec. 22, as they plan to make it to the playoffs before mid June.
With their recent success of having a confined NBA playoff experience in one stadium, fans witnessed the Los Angeles Lakers take home the NBA championship, and then just a couple weeks later in November we saw them host a virtual NBA draft for the 2020 rookies.
Now with less than three weeks from tip-off we will see the NBA season start up all over again following stricter protocols.
As the NFL season has already been in full swing, it has been an interesting season for sure — from not just injuries affecting gameplay, but consistent positive cases of the virus affecting player travel and rotation of positions on the field.
The league still plans to start playoffs by the beginning of January and have the Super Bowl on Feb. 7, 2021.
As the fans of countless teams still watch from home the spectacles of every touchdown and interception, they all should be weary of how COVID is the ultimate game changer.
The MLB has announced that their plans for their (2020-2021) will commence on April 1 of 2021.
As the league will follow extra safety protocols and do consistent testing for any cases of COVID, travel arrangements and protocols for safety will only permit players, team managers and training staff on any transportation to and from games.
Fans will just now have to wait in anticipation of their new season to commence and be ready for possible news of players being out for games, or a delay on a certain game in the season.
As these three pinnacles of the professional sports world in the United States are in the motion of commencing their 2021 season, one of the world’s oldest sporting events had to be postponed this summer; that of course is the Summer Olympics.
The sporting event that unites our globe in competitions like track, soccer, hockey and basketball, will aim to still be hosted in Tokyo in the summer of 2021.
The International Olympic Committee declared their plans to commence the events on July 23 to Aug. 8 and that safety of the participants is their number one priority.
“In consideration of the global coronavirus outbreak, we need a certain time frame before we fully prepare for the delivery of Games that are safe and secure for the athletes and spectators. Also, the preparation for the new dates will go smoothly, as the dates match with the same timeframe as the original competition dates, corresponding with ticketing, venue staffing, volunteers and transport,” said Governor Koike Yuriko.
With all the pandemonium of cases possibly on the rise and COVID-19 playing a critical factor in the success or failure of the olympics, athletes and coaches are assuring that being safe while practicing for the olympics is important for them and anyone they are in contact with.
As world events that get people’s attention like soccer, basketball and hockey, they must all understand the key factor of players even wanting to compete in the Olympics.
Since world sports have been on a delay, you might see some contenting playoff players in their postseason opt out of the Olympics because they would rather focus on their own professional team instead of their Olympic team.
Looking specifically at the NBA’s circumstances, you have the possibility of their season ending at the end of June or possibly early July.
With that being said, training camp for U.S. basketball usually starts in the beginning of June or late May, so what happens if you have these conflicts with the end of a regular season and the start of the Olympics?
“I think it’s unlikely, at the end of the day, that, if we start late, we would stop for the Olympics,” Adam Silver, commissioner of the NBA, commented on the 2021 Olympics and his players’ participation in it. “Because, as you know, it’s not just a function of stopping for the period in which they are competing over in Tokyo. But they require training camp, and then they require rest afterwards.”
Precautions that the summer Olympics will follow include mandatory testing for all athletes and staff, as well as having countermeasures against COVID.
As the Olympics seems so far away, athletes are still in training and preparation from what would have been this past summer’s Olympics, with billions of dollars on the line in advertisement cost, venue costs and other expenses.
This postponed year of sports has truly been a tragedy to witness, and although we are not back to 100% in the sports world in terms of being normal, we should all remember that with time and patience only good will come out of it.
Hopefully 2021 will be a great year for all sports.