Embrace the Changes, Not Nostalgia
Written by Eli Kleinmann
Sports are coming back and they will be back sooner than we realize. On May 12 the majority of NBA players voted in an NBA Players Association poll that they do want to resume and finish the season this summer. In Major League Baseball the owners have submitted a proposal that would have Opening Day at the beginning of July. While some of our favorite sports are coming back, we need to understand that sports aren’t going to look the same as when we saw them last, but that doesn’t mean that we are going to lose our favorite parts of the game. There will be changes but the fact that we can get sports back at all while this pandemic rages on is something that we need to embrace with open arms.
The great part is we have already supported the changes that are necessary in order for sports to resume.
There was a lot of hope as we tuned in to watch the NFL draft so that we could enjoy something during these difficult times that we enjoy every year. When NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said that the Cincinnati Bengals were on the clock, we entered a virtual age for the NFL draft and it was a huge success. Sure, we missed the huge crowds and the roars and boos but we still got to experience the majority of what we love about the NFL draft. We saw our favorite players get drafted and we witnessed surprising moments that made viewers and analysts alike declare teams as winners and losers.
Now we need to have the same mentality as our favorite teams get ready to play once again.
For the NBA, changes are going to include all teams playing in a centralized location and likely a change in the postseason format. Baseball divisions are likely going to be overhauled to just three regional divisions and again there will be changes to the postseason format.
While those changes are notable, the biggest change will be the absence of fans in the seats. We often overlook how much of an impact fans at the games have on fans who are watching at home. Without the fans at games, it leaves leagues with significant decisions to make about whether to put virtual fans in the stands and whether to add crowd noise. Whatever decisions are made, we need to understand that the amazing production crews are working their hardest to create a memorable experience for us. Of course, it will not compare to games where 20,000 fans pack into arenas or 40,000 fans fill ballparks across America, but it is not meant to. It is supposed to let us watch our favorite sports and give us some semblance of what we had.
Eventually we will return to filling stadiums and listening to the roars of the crowd echo through our televisions, but don’t let the nostalgia hold us back from enjoying these moments. These are tough times so let's be open minded about the temporary reality of sports and let’s relish the knowledge that the sports we all miss so dearly are coming back and they will return soon.