COVID-19 and the Surreal Landscape
It is Saturday, March 14, 2020 as I'm in my house on a Saturday morning. As per routine, I'd either be heading to a track meet to shoot 1,500 photos and conduct some interviews, or I'd coach my own vaulters and high jumpers at a meet in the DFW Metroplex, but today I'd be remiss to bypass how the sports world just came to a screeching halt within the last 72 hours - and how my routine, like everyone else's in the world, has been transformed.
The NBA, XFL, MLB, NHL, NCAA, the Masters, and so on and so on, all the way down to the elementary school level - closed. Simply closed.
Varying degrees of closure.
Thirty days, two weeks, the full spring season.
The NCAA grants a reprieve for those athletes who've lost their seasons due to COVID-19.
In a show of philanthropy, NBA stars ante up to pay for arena workers' lost wages.
eLearing at all levels.
Open theDallas Morning News Sports section, and in the upper left-hand corner of page 2, there's no listing for the daily televised action, because there is no action. The last time I remember something like this was 9-11.
Below is a screenshot from Tracktown's statement regarding the U.S. Olympic Trials:
Further in the statement, Michael Reilly warns that depending upon how the situation unfolds, it may be necessary to cancel the Trials.
While everyone combats COVID-19 in their own households and in their own jobs and in their own psychology, and the millions of stories circulate through social media, and the mainstream media reports show the world's interconnectedness in a fashion we may have never dreamed of, I want to reassure the athletes and officials and coaches and parents and all those connected to Texas Track & Field in any measure that our sport will resume and athletes will run and throw and jump again soon and PRs will be set and stadium records will fall and state record times will decrease just as the virus' virulence decreases.
In H.G. Wells' prophetic masterpieceWar of the Worlds, it's that which humans cannot see - microorganisms - that topple the invaders from Mars. And while these same microorganisms - in this case, a virus - topples the sports' world momentarily - rest assured, our athletes will return.
SPC, TAPPS and UIL have all released statements:
SPC, TAPPS and UIL are all in touch with the myriad governing bodies to make sure that our tracks and fields of dreams are safe to return to, and in time, we will. Hopefully this season can see a semblance of salvaging, especially for the seniors who have only what's left of the schedule to add their names to the record books, in hopes they can supersede the possibility of an asterisk next to this year's final stats.
The NCAA has granted a reprieve of eligibility to those who lost their seasons under a pandemic exemption, but high school seniors must move on. There is no scenario where they can or should stay. Let's hope the logic of social distancing, perfectly suited to a social media world, helps to remedy the situation more quickly than much of the apocalyptic media portends. Would love to see all of our state championships continue on schedule, however revised the schedules may be to get there. This way, we can all resume our routines.