Opinion: Happy to Have Professional Sports Back

Shaan Patel

Wednesday, March 11 sparked a shock throughout our world. 

Commissioner of the NBA, Adam Silver, had postponed the NBA season. This would be recognized by the rest of professional sports around America and internationally. Next thing we know, the NBA, WNBA, NHL, MLB, college basketball tournaments, and international soccer were all either cancelled or postponed. For almost five months, we were without professional sports. 

Then, the thing that sparked the shutdown sparked the comeback of sports. Adam Silver announced the return of NBA basketball as July 31, and since then all other sports have made their return.

Fast-forward to August, the NBA and WNBA have made a “bubble” in Orlando (Disney Resort) and Bradenton, FL, where no one can enter. On July 29, 343 players were tested for COVID-19, and there were zero positive cases. Both bubbles in Florida have been as safe as can be and have been so effective that the NBA playoffs already began on Aug. 17.

As for the MLB, there have been positive COVID tests, but all sporting events have been successful since the restart. 

Similar to the NBA, the NHL has been in two separate bubbles in Edmonton (Western Conference teams) and Ontario (Eastern Conference teams), Canada and have begun playoffs. Fortunately, on Aug. 3rd, it was reported that out of all 24 playoff teams, there were zero positive cases.

International soccer has been just as effective. Though there is not a bubble due to the great number of soccer clubs, the amount of positive COVID-19 cases have been limited. In addition, all games have been completed in each international league (Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, and more) and now championships are being played for. Currently the FA Cup Final was on Aug. 1, (Winner: Arsenal), the Europa League Final between Sevilla and Inter Milan, was on Aug. 21, (Winner: Sevilla), and the Champions League Final between Paris Saint-German (PSG) and Bayern Munich was on Aug. 23, 2020 (Winner: Bayern Munich). 

As for soccer in America, the MLS had its ups and downs. Through the restart, there have been a couple teams to withdraw from the MLS is Back Tournament, FC Dallas and Nashville SC. On the good side, the MLS has continued to test players, hotel management in their bubble, and staff. There has been an incredible decrease in the amount of positive cases. On Aug. 11, a total of 102 individuals were tested for COVID-19, and there were zero positive cases.

Transitioning to the NFL and college football, the NFL cancelled the Hall of Fame game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys. In addition, all pre-season games have been cancelled, but the NFL regular season is still on schedule to start on Thursday, Sept. 10, between the Houston Texans and the Kansas City Chiefs.

College football has just started to spark conversation, as out of the Power 5 Conferences (Pac 12, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, SEC) the Pac-12 and Big Ten are the only two conferences to cancel their season. 

A bigger story lately was the disappointment by star quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Big Ten, Justin Fields, as he has tweeted and been very upset that the Big Ten has cancelled college football for his team. Fields has gone to the extent where he started a petition on Aug. 16, to relaunch the Big Ten season. By Aug. 17, he already had 213,000 signatures and much more to come.

Although it took five months for the relaunch of sports, what each professional sport has done is absolutely incredible and each and every country in this world definitely appreciates it.