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Coronavirus: A world without the great distraction of Sports, but this too shall pass

The great distraction called Sports has ceased to be in action with practically all major events being either scrapped off.

Coronavirus: A world without the great distraction of Sports, but this too shall pass

Sohinee Basu

Published: 16 March 2020 11:35 AM GMT

The warnings about life being brought to a screeching halt were long present in front of our blindly seeing eyes, but perhaps we looked too late. If the clock-hands could rapidly slide back to the Dark Ages of the Great Plague or imitate the plot of a certain Dan Brown novel or side with the philosophy portrayed by the Marvel Cinematic Universe, well, we might as well be in the Endgame now.

The outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has brought life to a stand-still and the great distraction called Sports has ceased to be in action with practically all major events being either scrapped off or postponed till further notice.

For the individual who always knew which channel to surf and tune into a live match or sneakily lookup match updates in the middle of their busy schedules, life has transformed drastically. From the littlest of things that we had learned to take for granted to the biggest of things that just simply happened have all been rushed to a full stop, in the middle of a sentence. Sports has had to forcibly retire mid-season and return back to the pavilion sans any victory to sing of, only a permanently temporary loss to brood over, impatient to return to the field.

Nobody had seen this coming, at least, not with the pace that it stormed upon the sporting world. The coronavirus outbreak has singularly crippled the entire landscape of sports, affecting the entire gamut associated with the extravagant, boisterous displays of the various tournaments. The arrival of this unforeseen pandemic especially in the year of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has stunned the entire microcosm of sports into a hushed and anxious silence.

Tokyo 2020 (Image: Tech Crunch) Tokyo 2020 (Source: Tech Crunch)

In this post-modern age, a lockdown of such severity was previously unimaginable but then again, over the last few days, the world has been constantly surprising us, all because of the bug called coronavirus that has seeped into the daily vocabulary of the layman. Perhaps more than the virus, the panic and anxiety has spread like wildfire and sadly enough, Sports has had to pull down the shutters and declare themselves unavailable for the immediate present. The cancellation of tournaments at a stroke, the hasty postponement of others, have all set the entire sporting cosmos whirling in chaos.

Sports accounts for an overwhelming section of the global economy and is an assured revenue-generator. The entire industry - right from the players, to the managers, to the sponsors and the media, is having to put up with a crisis never seen before in the world of professional sports. What started out in Wuhan, China in the fag end of 2019 has rapidly spread its tentacles and taken over Europe, pushing Italy to a lockdown and other nations also severely affected. Therefore the postponing of the Premier League, the English Football League, UEFA Champions League, and the Europa League was only natural. In fact, no sport in England or otherwise has been exempted from the impact of the outbreak.

England, being the birth-giver of cricket has had to postpone its upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka, while Australia pulled out of their tour of New Zealand in wake of the spread of the virus. Closer home, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has also decided to postpone its proceedings from March 29 to at least, April 15.

Tennis and badminton authorities have also decided to suspend the ATP and WTA Tour and BWF Tour till April and have invited the worry for several players who are eyeing to qualify for the late-July Tokyo Olympics. Basketball and baseball season has also been called off for now and all in all, the silence in the entire sporting world is becoming too overbearing to put up with.

Health Ministry advises national sports federations and BCCI on coronavirus(Image: Twitter) Health Ministry advises national sports federations and BCCI on coronavirus(Image: Twitter)

In a year which was expected to throb with news of Olympics revelations and discoveries and stay chock-a-block with the exciting season, the shadow of a global pandemic has gagged the mouths shut and squeezed the ink dry for pens to write of new glories. The only headlines that flash and pulsate report the mischief of the coronavirus which is dictating and directing every story for now. Everything we once took for granted has been snatched from us and we have been pushed towards rethinking our reality. The long-assumed role of Sports as a constant distraction has been robbed off as well with television having to broadcast highlights of matches only.

As much as there is a lot to lament over the turn of events, there is no denying the importance of this reality-check. Sports requires the participation of fans and is an industry that involves a major half of the population whereby making it directly vulnerable for the attack from the coronavirus. Sports requires travel, assembly of players and fans in enclosed spaces, the contact of bodies, which all serve as extremely dangerous options to be allowed at the time of such a global crisis. But that does not mean everything is over yet. We should not have to brood for long as the comeback is a promised one - Sports will rise again and assume its role of being the great distractor.

At a time when all major sporting events have been called off or postponed, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has stayed true and on-track to host the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Notwithstanding the majorly impacted condition of Japan currently, no notice has been issued by the IOC regarding the postponement of the July-end Olympics, which will be the 32rd edition of the greatest multi-sporting extravaganza. The Torch Relay for Tokyo has already started and the ceremonial lighting of the Olympic flame was held behind closed doors in Ancient Olympia, which somehow transformed into a ray of hope for the countless sporting nations involved with the Olympics.

Yes, the silence is deafening and the headlines induce panic. But we should not stagger in the face of a pandemic and flare the flame of anxiety even further. It’s important for us to remember and recognise this silence as a necessary one and have faith in Sports to make a comeback. Nobody was prepared for this dramatic turn of events but then again we are all in this together and this battle is not simply of Sports, it is a battle of the human race. The silver lining of the cloud is awaited and assured; this period of gloom too shall pass. The rushed full-stop that has been put on the tournaments, for now, will definitely extend into an ellipse before a full-fledged comeback arrives and glory sounds again. With a little bit of hope and a great deal of determination and safety precautions, we can carefully dribble past this crisis and end up on the other side of the field, on the other end of the court and wait for the curtains to rise again and welcome Sports back to where it rightfully belongs.

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