Nassau Coliseum
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused teams to leave their respective venues. For now, it’s the safest way to survive this invisible killer.

Frank Curto

Through this time of anxiety, fear, and frustration, people have been without the one reliable source to distract us from this nightmare called “life.”

The wonderful world of sports.

Athletics have always been a way to bring people together. Whether it be watching the New York Rangers skate at Madison Square Garden, having a beer and hot dog while watching the New York Mets at Citi Field, or watching a varsity girls lacrosse game at Tottenville high school on Staten Island, sports are something that brings us all excitement and enjoyment.

A way of distancing one’s self from the craziness of the day. A way to sit back, cheer on your favorite player, boo the villain from the opposing team, or, for me, cheer on your youngest daughter as she stands tall in net for her high school lacrosse team. Needless to say, sports are how everyone copes with life.

Last month, the sports world sadly began succumbing to a shutdown. The NBA, NHL, MLB, NLL (indoor lacrosse), PGA, NASCAR, minor league hockey, the professional curling league in Canada, and about every other sport from the high school level and up had all stopped or canceled their seasons.

A world fighting an invisible enemy has been forced to do the opposite of what sports provide: A way to celebrate a victory or console in a loss together.

But working in the city and state that has more COVID-19 deaths than anywhere else in the world, I can say that canceling all sports was a smart decision.

The commissioners of these leagues must put money and profit aside and continue to keep their athletes at home.

There is no place for sports

I write for a sports website. It’s an enjoyable position to be in with the opportunity to discuss the play of my favorite team, the Rangers, and other sports teams in the tri-state area. So with that said, it pains me deeply to suggest that sports need to keep its distance for the unforeseeable future.

We have read so many rumors of sports leagues thinking about how they might come back. From MLB playing all of its games in Arizona to the NHL playing hockey in August to NASCAR racing twice a week to complete a full 36-race schedule. Looking at all of the different scenarios, I truly believe the best one is to not play at all.

There is so much uncertainty regarding how long this virus will take to disappear.

I’m no doctor nor do I believe I truly understand how this virus attacks the people of our world, state, or city. The only thing I can understand or relate to is social distancing — the exact opposite of what sporting events bring to the table.

How can people attend a baseball game in Chicago, Toronto, are any other venue that holds 50,000-70,000 fans? This virus is spreading through different states at different speeds, so putting together any sort of a game plan to bring back sports has to hold off, for now.

The NHL and NBA could be victims of canceled seasons or restructured playoffs that will always remind us of the crazy year of 2020. Again, this may be the best move to rid our country of this horrible virus.

It’s truly depressing to think that the one thing that makes everyone smile and laugh is the one thing we can’t currently enjoy.

Sports will have its place to return

There will be a place for the sports community to return to our lives. A time when fans will be willing to be closer than six feet to cheer on their favorite player or team.

Until that time arrives, the general safety of everyone needs to be at the forefront of our minds and hearts.

Of course, all good things come to those who wait. Therefore, we must continue to be vigilant and stay at home. Let’s wash our hands and try to help others as much as we can.

But in the back of our minds, when we find those few precious minutes to allow ourselves to enjoy a fun thought, we’ll use it to think about our teams.

For me, I treasure the thoughts of seeing my daughter Alyssa lead her Pirates lacrosse team on to the field. A season lost for her, many NCAA players, and even some professional athletes, but sports will return eventually.

For now, we need to keep everyone safe, from the vendors at the stadiums to the fans. New Yorkers are strong, you can knock us down but we’ll always return to our feet. We will eliminate this virus, then we will go watch our favorite team and cheer with pride once again.

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