To Play or Not to Play…It Depends on the Level
Sports is clearly front and center when it comes to aspects of the pandemic that have the greatest ability to divide people. The simple question of do we play or not is not simple at all and next to wearing masks one of those that will can spark considerable debate.
Whether Major League Baseball, the NFL, NBA or NHL should be returning to action is quite a bit different then whether college, high school or even youth sports should be taking place.
The pros get paid to play and will clearly have safety protocols in place that give them at least a fighting chance to start and hopefully finish a season. Sure there will be players who test positive but unless there is a significant outbreak expect them to try everything to remain in action.
College sports, especially football, has only a couple of more weeks before decisions have to be made. The Ivy League and Patriot League have already cancelled their fall seasons, several other schools have done the same and the National Junior College Athletic Association announced that most of their sports, including football, have been moved to the spring. With virus cases surging across the country it’s very possible that all fall college sports will be cancelled in the coming weeks.
However the greatest debate likely comes at the local level because we are talking about kids, maybe your children. Youth sports has already been given the go-ahead by Governor Murphy and kids of all ages are playing baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse and others right now.
While high school sports is somewhat in question Tuesday the Last Dance World Series opened at more than 50 sites across the state. It’s a baseball tournament created for those who did not have a chance to play in the cancelled spring, especially seniors who have since graduated.
I was at Al Leiter Field in Bayville last night and it seemed there was little concern about COVID-19, especially among the maybe 500 spectators who packed the complex with little social distancing and masks were a rare sight. But there was baseball and it seemed like everyone was just happy to be able to root for their favorite team.
By the way players representing Central Regional beat Toms River East and Donovan Catholic topped Pinelands Regional.
However the real dilemma with high school sports centers around a fall season and like everything else today there is sure to be division and some controversy. Such is life and sports in 2020.