Pack up the banners and return the confetti because the collegiate sports world has come to an abrupt stop.
A season’s worth of work, four years of tireless competition or a lifetime of devotion; how do you measure a championship effort? This year no one will know how they measured up, if they had what it took. For these seniors we have to say thank you, not just for what they have done but what they would have done.
Every athlete has championship dreams, but this year no one will be able to show their heart of a champion. Honestly, they have the shortest end of the stick here. As a fan, I’m obviously disappointed, but for the athletes there is a total sense of loss.
When I was younger, my father and I would watch March Madness religiously. We would back teams we had never heard of and cheer athletes’ names we’d never seen. Aside from when the Memphis Tigers were playing, we never cared much who won or lost. We loved the competition, the sheer will and determination put on display.
This year, the country won’t be captivated by the feats of one phenomenal talent as they play their future into existence. Instead, this year the country is being held captive by a virus, a pandemic that has quarantined the population and robbed the country of championship seasons. As field and gym lights shut off across the country, we all have to take a step back and look at the impact that coronavirus has had on society.
If anything, this has illustrated the severity of our reality. A world without champions was unimaginable until now. When I had first heard the news that games would be played without fans, I was at a loss for words.
A game without the roar of thousands of semi-crazed screaming fans just doesn’t seem like a game at all. How can athletes compete without the crowd? The ebb and flow of energy in a arena is palpable and that would be lost. Then the announcement came that March Madness was cancelled, then track and field, equestrian and finally baseball.
This year may be a wash and that’s tragic, but the wonder about sports is there is always next season. For many athletes the grind continues, for others it stops and for some it’s just beginning.
COVID-19 is a virus that may end a season, but it’s not a virus that can end sports.