Opinion: Pandemic puts pause on professional sports

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The Red Wings hype the crowd up before a game earlier this season before the NHL suspended their season. Photo by Julia Gebeck '22.

Mike Hamilton '22, Staff Writer

The first time many people, myself included, began to take the threat of the COVID-19 seriously wasn’t when thousands died in China or in Italy. It wasn’t when they said groups of 1,000 or more couldn’t congregate. It was when the world lost one of the most cherished forms of entertainment, competition and for many like myself, lifestyles. I didn’t acknowledge the threat that the Coronavirus has on humans until they took away sports.

For those who don’t know me very well, I am a sports junkie. ESPN is always on at my house and I almost always catch at least two games a night. My love atfair with sports started when my parents got season tickets to the infamous 2008 Detroit Lions season. For those of you who don’t remember, that was the year the Lions became the first NFL team to never win a game in a regular season. Each time I left the stadium, with a loss in hand, I was there to still cheer, and honestly, I was just happy to see them cover the spread.

With my entire life being surrounded by sports, my favorite time of the year is March. There is the final stretch of the NBA before the playoffs, and most importantly March Madness.

Including the conference championships, there are five weeks of intense, survive and advance basketball where anything can happen. I was actually getting set up to watch the Michigan v. Rutgers game, which was to be played in an empty stadium when I got the news that players had been pulled off the court and the entire tournament had been canceled.

At that time panic started to set in. There had been rumors regarding school closure, yet I just thought of this as paradise; being able to watch every game regardless of what time it was airing. But as more and more conferences canceled their tournaments, I quickly realized that sports were going to be gone for a while.

As heartbroken as I am, I stand by the NCAA decision to shut things down. The NCAA gets a lot of bad press for their rulings on athletic eligibility and athletes’ rights, but in this case, they moved swiftly and kept the student-athletes’ best interests in mind.

I also want to commend the other major sports leagues in America for shutting things down as quickly as they did. They did everything in their power to help not only their players, but their fans as well. They, like the NCAA, put aside their bottom line and realized that this is a crisis.

Overall, I miss sports. The last few weeks have been torture, but this is a crisis, unlike anything anyone has ever seen. And I want to thank every single team and owner that decided to do what’s best, not for themselves but for the entire country.