‘Stoga sports fans react to professional sports COVID-19 safety precautions

___________________

By Andrew Franceski, Staff Reporter Junior Jack Donahue looks forward to March Madness, his favorite sporting event of the year. “March Madness is my three week excuse to eat, scream my head off, and fill in brackets until my hands are tired,” Donahue said.   However, this year March Madness, along with many other sporting events...

By Andrew Franceski, Staff Reporter

Junior Jack Donahue looks forward to March Madness, his favorite sporting event of the year.

“March Madness is my three week excuse to eat, scream my head off, and fill in brackets until my hands are tired,” Donahue said.  

However, this year March Madness, along with many other sporting events have been cancelled or modified to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines forcing a change in the way Conestoga students consume sports. 

Sports have been an escape from life for students like junior Jack Dirkes, especially this year. 

“Sports have occupied more of my mind as my free time has increased,” Dirkes said. “Basketball, especially my Toronto Raptors, have been a reprieve from repetitive days in quarantine.”

The NBA made the decision in July to institute a “bubble” in Orlando, Fla., to provide a safe way for the season to resume. Only players and essential workers were allowed into the bubble, and everyone was subject to daily testing, with fines up to $50,000 for missing a test. As a result, the NBA has concluded its season without any COVID-19 scares.  

The restart of professional sports has not been without problems. At the beginning of the shortened MLB season, positive COVID-19 tests postponed over 25 contests as the league grappled with a lack of player support for a bubble and coaches refusing to wear masks. 

Positive tests have forced the rescheduling of four NFL games, a trend that junior Aishna Gaikwad says is troubling.

“It’s ruining the season. I think social distancing should be more strictly enforced especially on the benches. It’s stupidity from them that is causing problems. I also think that rescheduling has unfairly helped some teams more than others and created potential for more serious injuries like Dak’s ankle, as some teams will not have an off week all year, and rest is important come playoffs.” Gaikwad said.

Nonetheless, she will continue to root for the Steelers every Sunday.

Sunday Night Football: Spectators wait for the game between the Eagles and the Detroit Lions to begin on Sept. 22, 2019. Fans were banned from attending Lincoln Financial Field until Oct. 18, 2020.

The NFL has now begun to increase access to locker rooms and behind the scenes content as well as allowing for a fee, personalized messages to be recorded and aired, and cardboard cutouts to be placed in the endzone. Once a month, Eagles season ticket holders will have the opportunity to join a Zoom call with two Eagles players and partake in a live Q&A. This is to capitalize on an increase in viewership on programs from across the league.  

However, senior Connor Northern believes these changes don’t make up for the fact that he can’t watch games in-person.

“The best part of going to a professional sports game is the energy. At hockey games, from where I sit I can’t even see the puck. You go to cheer your head off, and be with other fans, smell the hotdogs, with everyone working to help your team win. Cheers, chants, and even boos help lead your team to victory,” Northern said.

As professional sports continue to wade through COVID-19 challenges, fans continue to have faith and root for their favorite teams. 

“I believe everything will work out in the end,” junior Jack Donahue said. “Sports unite people of all different kinds, something we really need right now. Sports will always find a way.” 

For now, though, sports fans around the district will don their favorite team jerseys and settle in with their families to watch games, a brief respite from this crazy year. 

© 2018 Spoke.News. All rights reserved.