Working Around Athletic Postponements During the Pandemic

The Ohio University men’s basketball team beat Eastern Michigan today 86-67. The team punched its ticket to the upcoming MAC tournament. Multiple student organizations covered the game in-person.

Sometimes I still shake my head thinking about how they pulled it off. When sports first froze in the middle of a Thunder-Jazz game last year, plenty of people predicted when sports would come back and what it would look like – that’s what pundits do.

But for a while, it looked like sports as an institution might have to shutter its doors for the long haul. The NBA and college basketball seasons were postponed indefinitely, the XFL folded in the middle of its relaunch, and the economic forecast was devastating – $12 billion in revenue and hundreds of thousands of jobs lost – not to mention the personal loss for players in high school or college, who were missing out on some of the best times of their lives.

As the initial shock of the virus subsided, though, people in every sport got to work thinking up ways the show could still go on. From high school to the pros, people did what they always do: adapt. I even wrote about how high school sports were operating in the summer. The NBA season resumed, and the MLB and NFL managed a full slate of games – if by the skin of their teeth at times.

Now here we are over a year later, and in the middle of season two for many sports in this COVID era. The NBA has been tip-toeing through a shortened 72 game season, and college sports, namely basketball, hockey and volleyball, are plowing forward as well.

That all brings me to my current bewilderment, as the Bobcats beat the Eagles by double digits. Despair has turned to inspiration seeing these teams back out on the field of play, and seeing student journalists clad their masks and cover those events.

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing – the men’s basketball team recently got back from a large outbreak that required multiple game postponements.

The women’s team is in the middle of managing postponements of their own, as is the volleyball team.

But that’s the name of the game these days: keep moving forward, even if it’s a crawl. The new challenges have tested player and reporter alike, including me, but I think I can speak for many of my peers when I say we’ll take the postponements, the empty stadiums and the zoom interviews so long as everyone keeps getting to do what they love. So long as the players get to stay out there, and we get to stay on the sidelines with our cameras and notepads.

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