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Commentary Relays Edition Top Stories

The sports spark is gone

Photo by Free-Photos | Pixabay

“I’ll care a lot more about things happening around campus when the pandemic is over.” 

I said this to one of my friends when we were talking about Relays coming up soon. We were asked why we didn’t plan on going to Relays, and my friend and I both agreed that the spark was gone because of the pandemic.

Let me be clear: it is not because of the Relays themselves. Before the pandemic started, I was incredibly excited to go to the Relays and all the events associated with them. But because of the pandemic, many of those events are either restricted or non-existent. Personally, I do not feel the need to go to something because it’s so heavily restricted (and therefore, not as fun as it should be). 

That’s been my mood for this entire pandemic, honestly. I remember when the pandemic first started, longing for sports to return because there were no sports on TV for four months. My friends, family and I would always talk about how great things would be when sports returned and we could finally have the games that we all know and love back. 

But then they did come back, and I wasn’t nearly as excited as I thought I would be. And frankly, it seems like many people felt this way. I think the main thing that made me lose the passion that I used to have for sports was just seeing those empty stadiums. Sports are supposed to serve as a distraction and entertainment. In the past, many people would unwind with a sports game after a long day at school or work. But nowadays, whenever I see those empty or partially empty seats with lifeless cardboard cutouts taking the place of fans, I’m reminded “Oh yeah, we’re still in this pandemic.” Even one of my cousins, a die-hard baseball fan who has loved the Chicago Cubs since the day he was born, said he doesn’t feel that energy that he used to have. 

“I’ll watch the Cubs,” he said. “But it certainly doesn’t feel like it used to and it’s not the end of the world if I miss the game.” 

Plus, many leagues have altered their rules to adjust for players or staff catching COVID, a necessary but depressing decision. Several teams have been short staffed and missing players due to COVID and because of this many have not been able to compete in the leagues they’re in. For example, the St. Louis Cardinals fell incredibly behind for a period of time last season because of a covid outbreak in the locker room. In this year’s Men’s March Madness pandemic, VCU could not play against Oregon because of COVID and Oregon advanced because they were the higher seed. This didn’t give VCU the realistic chance to upset Oregon in the tournament known for incredible upsets. 

Yes, I’ve gone out for clubs and was even in a show here at Drake amidst everything. But I haven’t felt the desire to go to sporting events, shows, or anything else that would usually have a packed house but instead have people six feet apart and masked. 

Trust me though, when things go back to normal, I will be at every single one of these events I can make. But to me, I don’t want to experience these things on a restricted level because it doesn’t feel the same; the fans give the game its atmosphere. And though events like the relays have a limited number of fans in the stands attending, I’d rather not go to a fun event and worry about the necessary health and safety protocols. When I go to a game, I want it in full force. And unfortunately, the pandemic has taken away that atmosphere. But trust me, like-minded sports fans like myself will be back to watch the events they know and love, with no restrictions and the atmosphere we all long to have back.

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