By GARRETT THOMAS
The times we live in now are unpredictable, and so is my favorite team’s schedule. The Washington Nationals are playing a modified season, but it isn’t the same. Likewise, football just started back up—the NFL is playing a full regular season, unlike the MLB, which is only playing 60 games this year. Baseball and football give us something to look forward to as we stay at home and wait for the end of the coronavirus outbreak. It isn’t the same by any means, but it is better than nothing, and it gives us something to watch.
Of course, players and staff members are susceptible to getting COVID-19. When watching the games on TV this year, I noticed the only people not wearing masks are the players out on the field. Major League Baseball requires the players and staff in the dugouts to wear masks at all times, unless they go out on the field to play. The NFL is making sure their players are wearing masks at all times, even during traveling to and from games. Both professional leagues are enforcing mask wearing.
As of August 14, the Major League Baseball Player Association and Major League Baseball announced that they had collected 66,127 samples, 0.1 percent of which were new positives. 19 of the clubs have had positive tests. As of September 1, the National Football League reported that they had 4 confirmed positive tests among players and six confirmed positives among other personnel, out of more than 58,000 tests administered to nearly 9,000 players and team personnel.
I would argue that really professional athletes have the same risk as anyone else going to work. Players and coaches are going to work to provide us with something to watch and bond over as we stay home. Although most people going to work are not traveling to different cities, I don’t see my work testing any of my co-workers weekly as often as professional sports teams do. The extra precautions serve to balance out the dangers.
Many may think that sports shouldn’t go back to playing, because it poses a risk for everyone and their health. If there isn’t a vaccine yet then players shouldn’t play or coaches don’t need to be coaching. Many may think that it is unhealthy for the community or for those families.
I understand the reasoning behind keeping sports closed off during the pandemic. However, sports are a place to escape and relieve stress. We all are dealing with this pandemic and need to stay home. Bringing back sports is a necessary move for morale. COVID-19 dramatically changed our lives and took away our sense of normalcy. Keeping sports open brings back a small shred of it. It gives us something to talk about other than politics or the problems around us, and it brings us together as a community. It brings families and friends together to watch their favorite team and have fellowship, even across distances. Yes there have been some bursts of cases in sports, but organizations are following health guidelines and Dr. Fauci’s advice. We should keep sports going, because it will keep our spirits and hopes up for the future.