I know we’re all eager to get back to watching games and going to events, bringing a sense of normalcy to a world that has been anything but.
However, we all need to remember that things aren’t normal right now. Chances are, they’re not going to be normal for a while. We’re in the middle of a worldwide pandemic that has affected everyone in some way or another. We can bring the games that we love back, but only if we take the proper precautions.
For instance, I’m going to have to change the way I cover certain sports this coming fall. I can’t be on the crowded sidelines of a football game or in a crowded gym watching volleyball right now, out of respect for my roommates and not wanting to bring home a potentially deadly virus. I’m likely going to have to explore live-streaming options and have coaches send me game film. With other sports, I’ll still be able to watch the games in person, but socially distanced.
As I start my 15th year of covering high school sports, I have to do things I never thought I would, and I hope I only have to do them this year.
Until summer baseball came along, I didn’t know when I’d see another game in person. Now that the fall season is here, I’m hoping we make it through the state tournaments in October and November without having to pause again. The number of positive COVID-19 tests in Utah has been going down recently, so there is hope. But in order to maintain that trend, everyone needs to be as safe as possible — if not for themselves, then out of courtesy to others.
I hope there is a way for fans to watch the games safely this fall. I’d love to see the bleachers full. At very least, I’d like to see the games go on, fans or not. Sure, what we’re going through is inconvenient and uncomfortable. But, if we decide sports aren’t worth being inconvenienced or uncomfortable, the games won’t go on at all.
And what if we don’t follow the rules? Well, look at what’s happened to Major League Baseball. Instead of watching the World Series in October, we might be lucky to see professional baseball past Labor Day. People haven’t been following the rules, regulations and advice set forth when MLB opted to start its season a couple weeks ago, and now there are massive outbreaks that have shut down multiple teams.
Utah is going to be a testing ground of sorts for how safe high school sports are — or aren’t — during a pandemic. Most of the surrounding states have elected to postpone their fall sports, while the Utah High School Activities Association plans for this season to be business as usual for the most part. If sports fans, athletes and coaches want this experiment to succeed, we all need to do our part to make it as safe as possible.
Darren Vaughan is a veteran sports writer from Moab, Utah. He will miss being on the sidelines in person this season, but he is looking forward to being able to watch the games any way he can. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.