I am very rarely an over-pessimistic kind of person, but I have unfortunately started to see that side of me come through a little more over the past few weeks as sports leagues across the country developed plans to return to the field or court despite all signs suggesting otherwise.
The only thing I keep thinking of is the classic line from “Jurassic Park.”
People are “so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
It blows my mind to think anyone can look at what the coronavirus has done the country and how people in charge have handled it but still pretend like everything should go back to business as usual.
I would love for everything to have been under control in March and this country be out of the woods like almost everyone else in the world. I want to be back on a high school football sideline next month without any concerns of a virus and both its fatal and non-fatal effects on people.
It would be awesome if I could celebrate my 76ers winning an NBA Championship this summer. And I wouldn’t mind getting to see Gerrit Cole actually pitch for the Yankees this year.
But some things are bigger than sports.
I know a lot of people are trying to be helpful by saying things like “stay at home if you can” and “wear a mask when you’re out” but I often see it followed up with “so we can have sports this fall.”
Again, I absolutely understand that reasoning. I don’t even know what my job looks like if there are no sports in the fall and I certainly do not what my mental state would look like without them.
But this is about much more than sports.
Professional sports leagues are doing the best they can to provide “bubbles” for their participating players, coaches and other personnel so they can provide some sort of entertainment for Americans right now. However, some athletes are still opting to stay home instead of risking their health and the health of their family members by putting them through something like that.
And no, it’s not because they’re selfish and it’s not because they’re lazy, whiny, spoiled or any other insult people try to use when athletes want to defend themselves. Some of the people who are most passionate about sports in this country are putting people ahead of the sport they love because they are concerned about what happens next and for good reason.
The rate this virus is spreading in this country is even higher than it was when everything got shut down the first time. I cannot figure out why everyone thinks it is a good idea to just step back out like everything is normal again especially because the reason I see most often is people saying being responsible and caring about others is a mild inconvenience to them.
Unfortunately, there are enough people who think like that which makes it hard to see an ending to the rise in cases and a beginning to a safer country where sports can be something we are worried about again. But for now, it’s hard for me to get excited about the prospect of the MLB, NBA and NFL seasons starting back up while lacking any faith things won’t get shut down two weeks in.
So, I’m not here to plead with you to be responsible so college football Saturdays can come back or to wear your mask so we can share a sideline on Friday nights again. Because it’s about more than that and it’s about time we all realized it.
People are losing mothers and fathers, sons and daughters to this virus. People are suffering from longterm symptoms months after testing positive. And all we have to do to stop it is start caring for others more than our own inconveniences.
Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc.