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Pandemic Playoffs

By Janmak Saji

The new year has been interesting for everyone, interrupting their daily lives, and disrupting people’s hobbies and work. Due to the pandemic and the risk of athletes getting sick, all professional sports were shut down, but after a lengthy hiatus, sports has begun to start up again.

The NBA had to shut their entire season down as the virus emerged, but has taken key steps to continue the broadcasting of the sport while also ensuring the safety of players, fans, and the staff. The NBA decided that they would restart the new season in Orlando, sponsored by Disney. Associated by the name “the bubble,” the NBA frequently tested the players, staff, and everyone else for COVID-19. The stands in the bubble were empty; instead, they broadcast a Zoom call on a large screen occupied by virtual fans who continue to cheer their favorite players on. By not permitting anyone to exit or enter, the NBA was able to finish off their season and playoffs with no interruptions. 

“I loved watching the NBA, and when the pandemic hit and it got shut down, it made me upset. I thought it was amazing to see the national basketball association figure out a method to keep both the fans and the players happy,” said senior Araf Abbas.

Similarly, the NFL also restarted and is going strong. Since football is an outdoor sport with access to open-air and large stadiums, some teams have decided to allow fans to watch the games, as long as they maintain proper social distancing. 

Seeing how major franchises have dealt with the pandemic, there is a lot that can be learned when high school sports begin. Although high schools lack the resources to repetitively check students for COVID-19, they should still make it a priority to check the temperatures of players before every practice. Additionally, athletes should be required to bring in their own water bottles rather than using the team jug that athletes are accustomed to. 

Regarding social distancing and students coming to support their teams, the NFL has shown how important it is to socially distance their fans. On the high school level, the amount of students allowed to watch a game has to be limited and all must wear masks.

“I honestly love to watch and play high school sports, and seeing how well it went for professional franchises makes me excited to see how our school deals with sports during COVID-19,” said senior student-athlete Cris Elledge. 

Source from @NHPAthletics

The usually crowded football field with cheering students is left completely empty in the midst of the pandemic.

Despite the global pandemic that is currently happening, the success of professional sports serves as hope for student-athletes around the world who are eager to get back on the field. 


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