(Picture source: Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News)
We’ve all been spoiled by sports. It has provided a path of study for the writers of this blog. It has been the catalyst of friendships and memories that will never be forgotten. Most importantly, it has been a tool to escape some of the hardships of life.
However, for some people, it is their lives. And it goes beyond the athletes. For every LeBron James and Cristiano Ronaldo, there are thousands of concession stand workers, security guards, support staffers, and interns that help make the product that we see on the court, field, pitch, or ice possible. We all must remember the behind-the-scenes personnel, as well as all hourly-wage workers, whose incomes are disrupted due to this pandemic.
Additionally, we should remember the athletes whose careers ended unexpectedly from circumstances out of their control, especially those in high school. There are no eligibility extensions, there are no continued direct deposits, it’s entirely over for them. One last chance for these athletes to wear their varsity jackets on a game day and take bus rides with their teammates is no more. The brotherhood/sisterhood between teammates is over. One last chance to build memories is over.
It is very easy to tell these kids that there are more important things in life than high school sports. And it is true, this pandemic has shown that. However, to these kids, the upcoming games were their playoffs, their Super Bowl.
To the Canisius High School basketball team, especially seniors Kaleb Cox-Harris, Jihad Almadrahi, Ish Fairclough, Eric Kegler, and Dewayne Vass, you’ll be remembered. To Stafford Truehart, who was slated to play in his first NCAA March Madness game as a member of the Hofstra Pride, you’ll be remembered. I hope you all understand that the cancellation of games is not in vain. It’s just what had to be done.
March 11, 2020, changed everything. Rudy Gobert, Tom Hanks, and Rita Wilson testing positive infiltrated our social escapes; the things that we all look to distract us from the stresses of everyday life were now under stress. We could not escape COVID-19 anymore.
The authors at the UB Sports & Entertainment Forum will continue to write about COVID-19’s effect on sports. However, it is important to address that we are in favor of the actions taken place at the University at Buffalo and sports league across the world in halting common activities until COVID-19 has been contained. It will be difficult, however, we will address these issues the best we can with a new perspective remembering, at the end of the day, there are things more important than sports. COVID-19 is one of them.