The inevitable return of sports is on the horizon, with Major League Baseball leading the way. MLB is the only major American sports league that has publicized an actual date for its return, aiming towards a Fourth of July opening day target date. It would be quite a feat if MLB can have opening day on the Fourth of July. It would provide the backdrop for a triumphant return that Hollywood couldn’t have possibly scripted. It would also bring a collective smile to patriots across America.
However, reality tells a different story. As of press time, we’re a long way from returning back to any sort of normal routine regarding our favorite sports. The aforementioned MLB return sounds wonderful, but there’s several factors that need to be addressed. Cleaning and sterilization of all facilities is a given, as the safety of all athletes and staff members are paramount. The real issue is testing: will there be enough tests available for all professional and amateur athletes? What about the stigma of professional teams getting easier access to testing than civilian society? Such classism is a bad look during a pandemic.
Location is also a key component, as some states have reopened for business sooner than others. Should there be an across the board timeline on when professional and amateur teams can resume? Will any definite return date be too soon? How each athletic governing body handles their resumption of athletic activities depends on personal choice. The COVID-19 pandemic is relatively new with a variation of mutations and no proven vaccine to defeat the virus. Will it be mandatory for athletes to wear masks during competition considering the importance of containing the spread of COVID-19?
It would be wise to listen to esteemed healthcare professionals to find these answers, as society has never dealt with a pandemic before. In the meantime, as we slowly wean ourselves into our new normal, continuing to wear masks, wash our hands, use sanitizer, and social distancing remains the best practice. While these tasks are impossible for athletes to execute all the time, we remain hopeful there will be a time when the risk of infection for athletes while playing their respective sports is minimal to non existent. Then we can get back to watching the sports we love.