BY CHRIS GOMES
It goes without saying that the coronavirus outbreak appeared on a whim, putting a temporary end to many beloved activities. Sports, for example, were wiped out completely. Sports networks and columns have been forced to cover the most monotonous of contact-free sports, causing many viewers to choose between watching hot dog contests or rewatching old sporting events.
The period of lacking sports entertainment does appear to be coming to an end. Some of the major sporting leagues– Major League Soccer (MLS), National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL)– have devised plans to return to play with some restrictions. Many of these plans occur within a bubble-like environment, in which the respective leagues control all aspects of the games’ campus with preventative measures for COVID-19.
The NBA is returning in a bubble environment at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The season began July 30 inside the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The return is more of a preparation for the playoffs with the best teams of the NBA involved.
Scrimmages began July 22 and official seeding games began July 30. Players will wear special rings and bands to determine their body temperature. If a player contracts the virus, they will be isolated in their room for a period of time until it is deemed safe.
The period of lacking sports entertainment does appear to be coming to an end.
Other sporting leagues, such as the MLS and NHL, are also incorporating a bubble environment. The MLS returned July 8 and ran until August 11, with the same precautionary standards: no fans in the stands and an environment where players and coaches are protected from the spread of coronavirus to an extent. The MLS has had great success in this endeavour and other leagues are using this example to determine their own approach.
The National Football League (NFL) has not fully drawn out their return to play, yet the start date of September 10 is fast approaching. The common consensus is that the league will return without preseason games, but will notably not be in a bubble environment.
More locally, Broward County’s sports also have similar restrictions, where certain drills that do not involve social distancing are not allowed. Sport-specific drills and other drills now involve students organized in groups of 10 people maximum, and they are not allowed to interact with others outside of their group. Coronavirus symptoms and temperatures of the students are also taken into account. CCHS students who participate in sports will have to wait a rather long period before they get back out on the field.
Many restrictions remain as all sports leagues work to return to playing, and most of them are in the best interest of both the players and the fans. The pandemic is not a common occurrence and we don’t completely know all aspects of the virus. These precautionary methods for restarting sports seasons are crucial for the maximum safety possible. Success of these environments is determined by the extent of player cooperation with coaches and the new rules of the leagues during this unprecedented time.
Photo by Anabella Garcia