Welcome back live sports.
The weekend choices of German soccer, a Skins Game with PGA Tour stars and NASCAR running at Darlington turned out to be pretty good television.
The lack of fans in attendance didn’t affect my viewing interest at all. I thought it would drastically change things. I expected it when I sat down to watch soccer on Saturday. It didn’t happen. Then I thought golf and NASCAR would feel different. Same thing. I didn’t miss the crowds. Was it because it was just so good to have live sports back? I think that was part of it. The other reality is the crowd experience is missed by those who can’t attend the live sporting experience in person, not those of us watching on TV. In a championship series or final the lack of energy bursting through the TV will probably be missed. For now it’s just good to have live sports back.
Now we have to wait to see if the coronavirus shuts down sports again.
WITHOUT OUTBREAK SPORTS CAN PROCEED
If there isn’t a wave of virus outbreaks among the German soccer clubs, NASCAR teams, and those who were part of the Sunday skins game, then I think that’s a start-signal for most sports on all levels to proceed. That’s proceed with no fans allowed and safety precautions in place.
The best thing that helped sports return is that we’ve learned with more testing COVID-19 isn’t a death sentence for all who are infected. We had 60 million people infected in America in 2009-2010 from last flu pandemic. COVID-19 isn’t the flu, but the more we are testing the lower the mortality rate becomes for the virus.
Even if there are a few isolated positive tests with the return of sports, the medical virus knowledge that experts have acquired can allow sports to go on. The UFC had a fighter test positive a little over a week ago at their cage event in Florida and their show went on as planned.
I think the live lessons learned from last weekend are huge for all sports to return without fans. Pro and some college teams have TV deals that can finance their return and protect them financially short term without fans. Other sports don’t have that luxury.
Without news of a massive second wave of people dying from the virus, and without our hospitals being slammed with critically ill infected patients, sports will be back to stay for good. Our fight against the virus isn’t just about positive tests. It’s about limiting the loss of life and keeping the masses out of hospitals. We are doing that now as we learn more about the virus. The positive trending medical date is real hope for all of us, not just in sports. Medical officials will need to sort through how many people actually died from COVID-19 or from previous underlying conditions. This will tell us the true story of this fight against the virus. When more medical data is finalized we then can have the big picture on the virus long term.
RETURN OF YOUTH SPORTS IN EARLY JUNE?
The return of youth sports should begin in early June in Michigan. Look for baseball, softball, swimming and running to be the first sports allowed to practice and play. Look for soccer, football, and basketball by July 1 if there’s no viral outbreak with the kids. Ohio went with the no contact sports first for kids. I think our state will follow their plan. As a father of three younger children I get the safety precautions but also don’t want youth sports leagues or schools to overreact.
On Sunday May 17 these were the Covid-19 numbers by age group in the State of Michigan:
Cases by Age
Age – Percentage of overall cases by Age – Percentage of Deceased Cases by Age
0-19 3% <1%
20-29 11% <1%
30-29 13% 1%
40-49 16% 3%
50-59 18% 8%
60-69 16% 18%
70-79 11% 27%
80+ <1% 0%
Unknown <1% 0%
You can see for yourself the concern about youth sports returning/schools opening back up should focus on the social distancing/safety of the older coaches/teachers/support personnel more than the children.
My opinion is the virus politics need to end now. Forget just thinking sports. If our economy continues to suffer the financial devastation will take decades to recover from. Families and schools will suffer the most. Most pro, college, and high school sports won’t have the cash flow to continue if virus politics run wild in America until Election Day 2020.
Let’s all work together now to do what we can to save lives, jobs, our country and sports.
The Huge Show is heard Statewide in Michigan Weekday afternoons 3-6pm. To get the podcast and to listen live: thehugeshow.net
Image from: https://www.bettorsinsider.com/nascar/2020/05/18/kevin-harvick-beats-alex-bowman-to-win-at-darlington-as-nascar-returns-to-racing