The sports world takes a timeout


Vivian Mai

Live sports may be gone, but you can still enjoy them by watching highlights of your favorite teams.

Dylan Mai, Staff Writer

Well folks, it truly is the end times.

Over the past month, every major sports league in America has been put on hold. This includes the NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS. The NFL has suspended its offseason operations, such as scouting trips and owner meetings. Even minor leagues such as the XFL and NCAA have been shelved. Yes, this is a different kind of March Madness.

Across the Atlantic, virtually every European soccer (or futbol, for the purists) league is done. This includes the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, and the UEFA Champions League. In addition to this, baseball in Japan, cricket in India, and many other international sports have been postponed. Even the Olympics, an event that has only been canceled during the worst times in human history, has been moved to next year. To put it frankly, the entire sports world is on lockdown.

The writing was already on the wall when NBA insiders revealed that the league was considering playing games in empty arenas. In Europe, there were already soccer games being played without spectators amid coronavirus concerns. On March 11, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, and the dominoes began to fall. Hours later, the NBA postponed the remainder of the season. The next day, the NHL followed suit. The MLB and MLS did the same days later.

This brings us to now. For pretty much all of us, these are strange times. Normally, we’d be stressing out over midterms and grades while also looking forward to spring break. For sports fans, we’d be cheering our favorite teams to the playoffs and speculating about Larry O’Brien Trophy and Stanley Cup winners. Some of us were even planning to attend games. This year, however, there is none of that. This year, we’re struggling to wake up in time for online classes while losing track of what day it is (I know I have!). 

Senior Bryan Granados shares his frustration with the current situation.

“The way [COVID-19 is] affecting us sucks because we can’t do anything, like nothing [about it],” Granados said.

He’s right. None of us asked for this. Because of events out of our control, we are forced to isolate ourselves when all we want to do is bond with our friends. For many of us, this bond is reinforced by cheering for our favorite sports teams and athletes.

Middle College alumnus Chris Chavez can definitely identify with the last statement.

“I mean it kind of sucks because a bunch of friends and I bond through European soccer, but what I have been doing to get my sports fix is playing soccer in my backyard. I have also been trying other things during times of the day that would be used to [watch] sports,” Chavez said.

For people like Chavez, sports are a large part of who they are. Pretty much all of us are proud to identify with a community that supports a cause or movement. For many people, that community is the sports community. If you’re into sports, you proudly wear that on your sleeve by buying merch of your favorite teams. You are excited when you meet a fellow fan. When all of that is taken away, you’re left feeling at least partially empty.

So how could you fill that void of emptiness? Well, as Chavez has realized, now’s the perfect time to develop your skills in the backyard. If you have a basketball hoop or soccer net at home, it is probably gonna be used a lot in the next few weeks. When the quarantine is over, you’ll be ready to play! However, not everyone has the ability and equipment to do this. In this case, some students play video games such as NBA 2K, FIFA, and Madden. Others have turned to the Internet.

Junior Jacquelin Robledo, a lifelong LA Angels fan, shares how she keeps in touch with her favorite sport.

“I’ve been going through the MLB’s YouTube page. They are posting random clips, so that’s how I’m keeping myself entertained,” Robledo said.

Like many fans, Robledo is watching sports highlights to get her fix. There’s simply nothing like actually experiencing the sport, even if it is through a screen and you know how it will end. Watching highlights of your favorite team in their prime can easily make you nostalgic for the game and remind you why you first fell in love with sports. For me, watching the Anaheim Ducks’ Stanley Cup victory in 2007 sends chills down my spine and makes me yearn for the days when I could experience those feelings for real, even if it was just three weeks ago.

However, the major leagues are definitely trying to make the best of a bad situation. The NBA streams replays of the best matches in basketball history. The MLB now posts full game replays from previous seasons. The NHL has made deals with TV networks to air old playoff games. 

In an interesting twist, however, some individual teams have turned to video games to entertain their fans. The Phoenix Suns now play their remaining games in NBA 2K20 and stream the matches on Twitch. Similarly, some hockey teams have also made their own “sim seasons” in NHL 20. The New Jersey Devils and Arizona Coyotes now stream virtual games with their network’s play-by-play announcers doing live commentary. I’ll have to admit: seeing CGI players skate around a virtual rink is way more entertaining than it has any right to be, even if it is nothing like real hockey. A real goalie that faces 90 shots in a game would collapse by the end; however, this isn’t an issue in a video game. This unique form of entertainment allows fans to enjoy sports in a different way and see things that would never happen in real life, and I am all for it!

At the end of the day, however, nothing can replace the roar of the crowd, the nail-biting tension, and the euphoria of victory that sports bring. Seeing your favorite team rise to the top and do battle against a division rival is one of the most incredible experiences that you can go through. I can confidently say that every sports fan is hoping that COVID-19 is squared away soon so that we can once again let the games begin.