This time last year, I was headed to Santa Barbara to compete at the Big West Conference Track and Field Championships with my team. Now, almost two months after the NBA and NCAA suspended competition because of COVID-19, a plan for the return of sports has yet to be set in stone. As an athlete and sports fan, my life without sports looks vastly different than I ever could have imagined.
With so many seasons abruptly canceled, sports content has taken an unprecedented new form. The WNBA and NFL drafts were both held virtually for the first time in history, news outlets are still producing content and Michael Jordan’s “The Last Dance” limited docuseries has been a smash hit (which I have yet to watch because I want to binge it all at once).
Watching the WNBA and NFL drafts in their new virtual format was almost a surreal experience. Many athletes’ biggest dreams came true in their living rooms without the fanfare that usually comes with becoming a professional athlete, a reminder of the realities of the pandemic we are living through. It was hard to even be excited for new talent coming to my favorite teams, because no one knows when competition and training can resume.
Had sports not been canceled, Twitter would be full of MLB and NBA highlights right now. To fill that void, Bleacher Report has done a great job putting out content that allows for a dive back into some historic moments to be remembered or future match-ups to look forward to.
A lot of sports journalists have been working from home as well. This has produced some really interesting Instagram livestreams and FaceTime interviews with top athletes, like Taylor Rooks’ virtual conversation with football star Joe Burrow where he said he could score 12-15 points in an NBA game.
It is great to be able to learn more about some of my favorite teams, imagine what will happen in seasons to come and even see some intimate looks into elite athletes’ personalities and quarantine workout routines. However, I am desperately missing championship basketball right now. More than anything though, I miss my coaches and teammates. With the peak of track season and NBA playoffs, this is normally the most fun and exciting time of year for me. Instead, I am working out alone and reminiscing, praying that everyone stays healthy.
Though I am sad about the circumstances, I am optimistic for the future. I know that just like me, many collegiate and professional athletes are using this time to prepare for competition. When that time finally comes, I think sports fans are in for some of the most competitive and explosive seasons we have ever seen.