March 12, 2020 will live in infamy as a day in which both professional sports leagues and the NCAA decided to shut down their operations in hopes of slowing down a global pandemic. It is an unprecedented situation that hopefully we will never see again in our lives.
Receiving the news yesterday that sports were cancelled for the foreseeable future was tough to fully digest. For those that don’t know, I am incredibly passionate about sports. The way I see it, sports are one of the few things in this world that truly unites every single one of us. In an era filled with hatred of one another for differences in religion and politics, sports gives us a chance to find common ground with our fellow humans. Each day, sports stadiums are filled with people from all different walks of life: rich or poor, conservative or liberal, Christian or atheist, who go to a ballgame to cheer on their hometown teams. Even during World War II, American professional baseball players serving in the U.S. military played baseball against German prisoners of war in order to keep their skills sharp. In times of great distress, sports act as a sort of peace treaty that provides common ground. Thus, when I saw the tweet below I was infuriated that someone who was directly involved in the sports industry could make such an ignorant comment.
While I respect others opinions, on a day in which thousands of college athletes learned they had potentially played their last game ever, a tweet so vile and out of touch with the reality of the situation was unnecessary. “Sports aren’t *that* important” writes someone whose livelihood depends on people tuning in to watch football. Tell the senior baseball player who had two Tommy John surgeries in college and was finally getting his chance to show scouts his true potential that sports are not that important. How about the hourly worker at the American Airlines Center who works nights in order to pay their way through school? Please tell them that sports are not that important. And how about the countless softball players who just played their last game because there is no professional softball league in the United States? Go tell them that sports are not that important.
As a former athlete, sports gave me some of the most memorable moments of my life as well as lasting friendships. Additionally, the life lessons I learned along the way are invaluable. My heart goes out to all of the athletes who learned they just put on the uniform for the last time. But, once again, their sport is really not that important.
Yes, it will be challenging, but we as a society will survive without sports. However, in this time of fear and panic I truly believe sports would have made people’s days just a little bit better. It would have given some people suffering from diseases or even the Coronavirus just a bit more hope to carry on and to make it to the next day.
I started Grad School Sports to connect sports fans around the country. We all have opinions about the game, yet often don’t have a platform to truly make our voice heard. While we may be without sports for the foreseeable future, there is no reason why we have to stop talking about them. Through discussion and debates, different sports topics make people think critically and analyze different situations. It truly is remarkable how pivotal sports are to our society. So, if you are just as distressed about the news as I am and want a safe space to talk about sports, please visit our website. Although it won’t be easy, if us sports fans stick together we can make it through these volatile times.