On Mar. 11 the National Basketball Association announced it would suspend their season until further notice after it was reported that Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus just minutes prior. What followed was a ripple effect throughout the sports world that saw almost the entire industry come to a halt.
Considering this was supposed to be the start of one of the most hectic times of the year for sporting events — and we are left with nothing — it feels as if we have been without sports for an eternity, yet it has only been a few weeks.
Seniors in high school and college played their final games repping their schools’ colors without even knowing it, teams who believed this was their shot to win all of March Madness are left with thoughts of what could have been and most recently, and the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo were postponed until 2021. As a result, event athletes everywhere that have been training throughout the year must wait or will possibly have to drop out.
What I have witnessed, however, is how great and impactful sports can be even when no games are being played. Athletes, executives and coaches everywhere are coming together to help out in these stressful times.
Many sporting event employees were left without jobs once leagues began to be suspended. In response, the Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was one of the first people to start the trend of paying stadium employees for games they would have otherwise been working.
“I reached out to the folks at the arena and our folks at the Mavs to find out what it would cost to support, financially support, people who aren’t going to be able to come to work,” Cuban said in a press conference following the announcement. “They get paid by the hour, and this was their source of income. So, we’ll do some things there. We may ask them to go do some volunteer work in exchange, but we’ve already started the process of having a program in place.”
Since this announcement by Cuban, we have seen the majority of other professional sports teams’ owners announce a similar plan. This includes Mariners chairman John Stanton who made a commitment to people in the Seattle area to make sure they are still supported after Major League Baseball made the same decision as the NBA to suspend the season.
An Instagram post from the Mariners stated, “As one part of our commitment to that community [Seattle], the Mariners, along with the Mariners’ ownership, are announcing today that we are creating a fund to support Seattle Mariners Event Staff employees who will lose pay because of the postponed day.”
Many athletes have also pledged a portion of their salary to stadium employees including NBA stars Zion Williamson, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Steph Curry.
Obviously, this time has been tough for sports fans everywhere — including myself — and it seems that we may have taken the sports we love for granted. Previously I would turn on certain games simply for background noise, but I have used this time for reflection as to why I love sports so much and why people can be so hooked to them. Due to these changes, I have found new ways to appreciate the sports I love such as reading books and watching documentaries.
We will all get through this, and before we know it we will have our beloved teams back.
Until then, here are a few of my favorites listed below to help a sports fan get through quarantine.
“Moneyball” by Michael Lewis
“The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown
Netflix’s “Last Chance U”
HBO’s “Hard Knocks Training Camp”
ESPN’S “30 for 30 Documentary Series”
“Friday Night Lights”