On March 13th, the NBA suspended its season after Utah Jazz Center, Rudy Gobert, tested positive for COVID-19, creating a domino effect. The sports world completely halted in the coming days. Professional, to college, down to varsity and JV, all sports were suspended.
“Telling them that their careers were over, that’s something I’ll sadly remember for the rest of my life,” said Marist’s Athletic Director, Tim Murray, of Marist’s women’s basketball team, who went 26-4 in the regular season, with a two-seed in the MAAC Tournament.
Women’s basketball will never complete their dream season with a chance at winning a MAAC title. Men’s lacrosse won’t be able to repeat as MAAC champions. Everything has stopped.
The novel coronavirus began to hit close to home when a commuter student from Marist tested positive in mid-March. Furthermore, on May 8th, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York gave his daily televised coronavirus briefing on the Marist campus. In this update, he announced that we are now ahead of the virus, and social distancing is doing wonders in slowing the spread.
But how long could this last? Sports have been known as an escape from reality for the public. After 9/11, natural disasters, and shootings, sports have become a coping mechanism, being around those who share the same interests and unify to cheer on your team. But now, what is unifying people is not how well can come together, but how well we can stay apart.
That being said, sports might be prioritized to come back, even if fans aren’t allowed to enter the arena or stadium. According to Tim Murray, preparing for sports to come back has been talked about since the moment they left. But it’s not really up to him at all.
“It’s a decision made from the people above me, New York’s Governor, and those higher up.” said Murray. It most likely will start at the top, with professional and major leagues’ owners working with health care officials to agree on how to open sports back up.
In mid-April, both Governor Cuomo and Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed their support for slowly bringing back sports without spectators, and sticking to as many ‘social distancing guidelines’ as possible. Baseball could be the first sport to make its return, as baseball is the one professional sport in America that may be able to somewhat follow the social distancing guidelines we’ve all become quickly accustomed to.
Murray said the possibility of sports without fans at Tenney or McCann is very much on the field of possibilities, but it all depends on what happens in the next six to eight weeks. In mid-July, Marist will need to begin making decisions about not only their fall sports, but classes as well. If classes are held online again, the chances of sports happening are slim to none. If classes are held in person, it’s almost inevitable that sports are played in some way.
Murray considered the testing of athletes a strong possibility. “Everything’s on the table right now. There isn’t much that has been ruled out yet.”
The idea of sports coming back to normal seems impossible. That might be right. Sporting events won’t ever be ‘normal’ again. We’re always going to think twice about touching that railing, or sitting in that seat, or about how many feet we are away from one another.
Edited by Lily Caffrey-Levine
Featured Image Courtesy of Carlo de Jesus