The day that sports stopped


The NBA set an example that many leagues would follow when they postponed the 2020 season.

Bennett Carollo, Sports Editor

Thursday, March 12th is a day that will undoubtedly go down in sports lore, to be talked about for decades to come. As the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continued to worsen around the world and in the United States, many teams and leagues were forced to make difficult decisions.

The previous days had already foreshadowed the inevitable. The first domino fell when the Ivy League canceled their basketball tournaments on March 10th. The 11th saw many more measures taken, as various teams and leagues made the call to play their upcoming games without fans. As it would turn out, this wouldn’t be necessary. The most shocking and sobering news came in the middle of the day when word broke that Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert had tested positive for COVID-19. The NBA promptly became the first of the four major professional leagues in the U.S. to suspend play indefinitely.

Then came March 12th. What would take place on this day became unlike anything we’ve ever seen in sports, with possibly the weeks following the 9/11 attacks being the only thing that has come close. Another Jazz player, Donovan Mitchell, was also diagnosed with the coronavirus. A slew of NCAA basketball conferences cancelled their tournaments. The NHL followed in the NBA’s footsteps by suspending their season. The other active major U.S. sports league, the MLB, wasn’t far behind, as they cancelled the rest of Spring Training and postponed Opening Day, which would have been on March 26th. Other leagues, like the PGA, MLS, and XFL, weren’t safe from the cancellations, either. Finally, college basketball blue bloods Duke and Kansas announced that they would not participate in the NCAA basketball tournaments and the NCAA followed by dealing the most devastating blow of all: March Madness and all other spring championships were cancelled.

When the dust settled, the entire sports world had been put on pause. From the aforementioned professional and collegiate leagues all the way down to spring high school sports here at East Lake, everything was stopped. Those who rely on sports as an escape had been deprived of it when they needed it the most. However, over the past couple weeks, alternatives to live sports have become more and more available. Networks that had previously relied on live sports for their viewership, such as ESPN, MLB Network, and NBCSN, have been airing classic games from the past. This is a great opportunity for fans to relive unforgettable sports moments or become exposed to them for the first time. Video games have also offered an outlet for those hungry for sports, with tournaments for NBA2K, MLB The Show, Madden, and other games being held. Not to mention, NFL free agency has carried on as usual. Huge signings, such as longtime Patriot and six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady going to the local Buccaneers, and massive trades, including the Cardinals landing star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, have offered a much needed distraction to fans. Even as more bad news has come, such as the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics to 2021, many sports fans are still remaining positive that their favorite teams and leagues will return soon.