It was all going according to plan. The 2019-2020 sports schedules were all on track. Coming off a fresh Super Bowl 54-win, Kansas City was riding an all time high. The newly established XFL launched their first few weekends of football and saw promising viewership ratings. March Madness was right around the corner with conference tournaments beginning to commence. The NBA and NHL regular seasons were winding down with teams making final post-season pushes. Then all of a sudden, everything stopped.
Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) had been lingering in China since November 2019. The global sports world was aware of how it was impacting China but was unaware that in the coming months it would all come to a screeching standstill. In the matter of a week, sports as we knew it was on hold with no sign of resumption in sight.
However, considering a global pandemic, there is so much good still happening in the sports world. Professional athletes from all sports are stepping up in this time of need. For example:
- Ilitch Holdings, the owners of the Detroit Red Wings and Little Caesars Pizza, set up a $1 million fund for their part-time employees affected by cancellations.
- Zion Williamson pledged to cover the salaries of Smoothie King Center employees for 30 days.
- Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers announced that he is committing $100,000 to support the staff of the Cavs arena affected by the NBA suspension.
- Dallas Mavericks team owner Mark Cuban will continue paying arena hourly workers, and he’s also setting up a program to pay for daycare for the children of healthcare workers.
- Patrick Mahomes’ Foundation is donating $100K to provide meals and household items to families in need.
Above all, we will rebound from this (pun intended?) The sports world will resume. National Championships will be played. Stanley Cups will be won. But right now, the world is full of so much uncertainty, and we all need a little hope. The examples mentioned above exemplify the hope that we need during these trying times.
In short, athletes are determined to stay focused. Training sessions will resume. Games will be played. And there will be a next season. We are strong enough to endure an extended, or mid-year, off-season. We are strong enough to recognize that health situations take precedence above all else. We are strong enough to recognize the opportunity to cherish loved ones. But when the time comes to resume to normal life, athletes will be ready, too.