Randy Smith: COVID And The Future Of Sports

Friday, November 13, 2020 - by Randy Smith
More than 10.5 million people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus and overnight, a new record of 150,000 new infections were reported. Nearly a quarter of a million people have died from the virus since March, and now the death toll is almost a thousand people per day in our country. All this while the current administration has done absolutely nothing to help, nor spoken a single word to the country while the pandemic continues to explode around the world. In other words, we're on our own for the next two months.

As far as sports goes, it doesn't look good at all for the winter.
Just this week, four different SEC games have been postponed due to coronavirus outbreaks, while at the same time, the Ivy League has already cancelled winter sports and delayed the spring sports schedule until at least March 1. College basketball teams around the country are preparing to open the season in a couple of weeks, with only 20 percent of crowd capacity allowed to see the games in person. On the local front, in area high schools it's getting worse with several schools, including Chattanooga Christian, closing down for two weeks and cancelling their playoff football season. If I were a betting man, I'd bet against winter sports being played at all, at least for an entire season.

Look, I've written about this topic several times and I have warned people about what could happen and it's happening. Current models from health officials tell us that 200,000 more people are going to die by March 1. And, while prospects look good for a vaccine, it won't be available to everyone for a long time. I am not an expert but, contrary to some people, I listen to the scientific experts who know exactly what is going to happen.

I had work done on my truck yesterday and every single customer and employee in the building wore a mask, which was encouraging. Yet, more than 230 new cases were reported in Hamilton County yesterday alone. While more people are wearing masks, it appears that a good portion of our society has chosen to ignore the warnings of medical experts. Even a minority of the people can cause the big increases we've seen in the virus. They refuse to wear their masks, they refuse to social distance and they refuse to do anything at all that will slow down this virus. 

When we reached mid-summer, there was encouraging news that things could return to normal by mid-summer of 2021. We had thought that baseball would return to a 162-game schedule, the NBA would play a full schedule on time and the football season would be back to normal. That theory has now been flushed down the toilet as it looks now like 2022 may be more optimistic. 

I have a couple of dear friends who are battling COVID-19 as we speak and the prognosis for one of them is not good at all. I've already lost several friends and acquaintances to COVID-19 and I'm sure there will be more. I continue to pray for them and for our country to come to its senses and accept this as a clear and imminent threat. Because it is.     

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Randy Smith can be reached at rsmithsports@epbfi.com

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