Football this Fall?

By Mark Nagi

I don’t like it.

I know you don’t like it.

But for now, living without sports is a reality that we have all had to accept.

We are seeing sports make a bit of a comeback. NASCAR has been racing a couple of times a week, and they are hoping to have up to thirty thousand fans at Bristol Motor Speedway for the upcoming all star race. Soccer has been underway for a few weeks overseas, played in front of empty stadiums that normally are filled to the hilt with fans. Major League Baseball’s owners and players finally came to an agreement, and we’ve seen players begin to report for what I guess you could say is spring training… even if it is summertime.

The NBA and the NHL have plans to finish the rest of their seasons.  The NBA will reportedly have their teams quarantined in a bubble in Orlando, while the NHL will reportedly restart in Edmonton and Toronto. The NHL should be what we really pay attention to here.  Even thought most NHL teams reside in the United States, the games will be played north of the border due in large part to the COVID-19 rebound in recent weeks in many parts of our country.

And that is a huge problem for sports.

If we can’t get a handle on dealing with this virus soon, then it’s quite possible that the leagues that are trying to restart will be shut down again, likely until 2021.

And that would mean no football… and that’s what most sports fans are worried about.

What would have happened had the impact of COVID-19 started a few months earlier. Losing the NCAA tournament was bad enough. Can you imagine an American sports scene without the College Football Playoff?  Without the Super Bowl?  Because if we were seeing the kind of widespread infection rate back in December that we see today, those games would not have been played.

I know that a lot of people don’t like wearing masks.  They feel like they are healthy, and don’t believe that they’ll catch COVID, so why wear a mask?  But they should be thinking about those of us that are more susceptible to disease. Those that are immune deficient. Those that are older. If more of us wore masks, that would help keep those folks from being ill, and slow the infection rate like we’ve seen in other countries.

But even if you aren’t concerned about them, be concerned about your own chance to watch football this Fall.  High school football, college football and pro football… we are at risk not only of not being able to watch those games in person… but it’s very possible that there will be no football at all in the weeks to come.

For the past four months, we have all had our daily lives turned upside down. Every day it feels like there are new guidelines, new warnings, new plans… it’s a major bummer.

But if you knew that wearing a mask meant you’d have football come September, you’d wear it, wouldn’t you?

It could make a difference…

Mark Nagi is the author of “Decade of Dysfunction,” which takes an up-close look at Tennessee’s crazy coaching search in 2017. The book is available on Amazon.

 

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