With the curve of the Coronavirus Pandemic appearing to be slowly flattened each day, many are wondering: When will we finally be able to escape the “new normal?” Whenever the country is reopened, many aspects of American life will slowly resume, from restaurants, schools, and of course, sports.
Currently, we already have several ideas as to when sports may return here in the United States. Iowa, in particular, has taken a bold step in expecting to resume high school spring sports in May. The Iowa High School Athletic Association has set the date for the return of most spring competitions to May 4th. To many, this may seem like an overconfident step; however, it is worth noting that Iowa has not been hit as hard by COVID19 as many other states, with only approximately 1700 positive cases. Another constraint to this proposal is that Iowa schools must be reopened on May 1st, which is only two weeks from now.
Professional leagues are also coming up with innovative ways to have their seasons resume as early as May. For Major League Baseball, players and managers have embraced a proposal to play all of their games for a prolonged period of time in Phoenix, AZ. The games would be held without fans, and the players would all be kept in isolation, only being allowed to travel to and from games. This is a fair compromise that is supported by both fans and public health officials, and it shows just how eager players are to play ball. By contrast, the future for the NBA is much more up in the air. Just a week ago, commissioner Adam Silver has said that when the league does decide to resume, there will need to be a 25-day window for players and coaches to prepare to start play. With that being said, the NBA has also said that an announcement of when this window will start will not be until May at the earliest. This likely puts an optimistic return for July for the league that was the first to suspend its season amid the early stages of the pandemic.
Overall, it is good that both of these leagues are proactive enough to start having the conversation of when to return to play. While it is impractical to suggest that sports can only return when there are zero cases of the virus here in the US, I am confident that the decision will be a responsible one that will not endanger players or fans.
Riley Dulin – Sports Editor