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MARCH MADNESS 2020: THE MONTH MAJOR SPORTS BECAME COLLATERAL DAMAGE OF THE CORONAVIRUS

When you think of March Madness, usually terms like brack·et·ol·o·gy – the activity of predicting the participants in and outcomes of the games in a sports tournament comes to mind. Images of the NCAA college basketball tournament stealing the attention of all men, leaving their wives and girlfriends wondering where the hell they disappeared to! Well, ladies, you may not have to worry about that this year. In 2020, March Madness has a new meaning, it will be forever remembered as the month the entire sports world stopped. In 2020 women may be praying for something to get their husbands and boyfriends out their hair since the world as they know it has ended and now they have nothing to do.

In the year 2020, March Madness came to a screeching halt even before a bracket could even be filled out. Wait, what! Yes, the unthinkable has become reality. Sports have paused before like after 911 for example but this is much different. This is the first time where just the gathering of the fans – whose cheers fuel the athletes – just their mere gathering could become a health risk.

Wait, what, yes that’s right, so far only one measure has been effective against the coronavirus: extreme social distancing, and that means March 2020 will forever be known as the month major sports became collateral damage of the coronavirus, a disease that is deadlier than the flu. Early guesstimates, made before data were widely available, suggested that the fatality rate for the coronavirus might wind up being about 1 percent. If that guess proves true, the coronavirus is 10 times as deadly as the flu.

But there is reason to fear that the fatality rate could be much higher. According to the World Health Organization, the current case fatality rate—a common measure of what portion of confirmed patients die from a particular disease—stands at 3.4 percent. This figure could be an overstatement because mild cases of the disease are less likely to be diagnosed. Or it could be an understatement because many patients have already been diagnosed with the virus but have not yet recovered (and may still die), The Atlantic reports.

March Madness 2020 will forever be remembered as the year, the NCAA canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments Thursday, March 12th because of the spread of coronavirus, putting an abrupt end to the season less than a month before champions were to be crowned.

March Madness 2020 now represents an unprecedented move that comes a day after the NCAA announced the games that were scheduled to start a week later, would go on, but played in mostly empty arenas.

That would have been drastic enough and had far-reaching effects alone, but that plan was scrapped as every major American sports league from the National Basketball Association to Major League Baseball to Major League Soccer put the brakes on its season due to concerns about the pandemic. Then the National Hockey League followed the lead of several other professional sports leagues in suspending Its season, Thursday afternoon. Even the Pro Golf Association cancels not just the current tournament, but their next three tournaments.

The NFL the only league not in season has canceled its annual meeting, set for March 29th, and let’s not forget about The XFL who picked a heck of a spring to start up its league. The new football league that was doing fairly well, at least compared to other start-up professional football leagues, and then COVID-19 happened. Thursday, March 12th will forever be remembered as the day the sports came to a standstill, the day the sports world stopped!

‘’This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to the spread of the pandemic and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during the academic year given the ongoing decisions by other entities,’’ the NCAA said in a statement.

But believe it or not, this is bigger than sports, this is a global pandemic. This is about being a responsible global citizen to help prevent further spread of the coronavirus one reporter said on ESPN, Thursday night. While may are looking for answers one thing for sure all remaining winter and spring tournaments have been canceled. So what is March Madness without the madness of the NCAA tourney, or all organized major sports as we know it, we are about to find out. Wait what, forget about the brackets, forget about being able to attend the games, what about our fantasy leagues, oh noooooo. When will the madness end?  gone to far, Give me liberty or give me death, but thou shalt not take away my sports, its the 11th commandment. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are

Now, this coronavirus has gone too far, Give me liberty or give me death, but thou shalt not take away my sports, its the 11th commandment. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness from routing for your favorite sports team, its right there in the Declaration of Independence. When a manmade decease can postpone or delay the opening of America’s favorite pastime. What’s a world without sports. In World World II FDR said the game must go on after JFK was shot the game went on, but the effects of this Coronavirus pandemic are the things of movies, an unthinkable plot that has you hanging on the edge of your seat, but this isn’t a movie. This is a gut check for America, but it is absolutely the right thing to do, its all about health over profits, people before pro sports. But that doesn’t make it hurt any less. 

It doesn’t lessen the implications that were already being felt by the hotel industry, the airlines, the restaurants, the service industry, the independent contractors, the vendors and all those who count on these sporting events to make a living. The money they lose for this undefined period of time, they will never be able to make up. What about the sports network? What will the sports news networks and reporters talk about? They will be discussing the effects of the coronavirus instead of giving up sports scores and the up-to-date sports news, we love and rely on to stay up on whats going on with our favorite teams or league. What does a world without sports look like? We are about to find out the hard way.  

“We don’t know enough to be more specific than that,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in his announcement that the NBA hiatus is likely to last at least 30 days. No one knows the implications short term or even long term. We are in uncharted waters. 30 days takes us to April 10th the first day of the NBA playoff is April 18th.

Two players of the Utah Jazz have been diagnosed as confirmed cases of coronavirus which largely in part led to the suspension of the NBA season.

Sports can be a diversion. Sports can be a hobby. And, for a fortunate few, sports can change the world. Nelson Mandela, the legendary South African activist and politician who died Thursday, December 5, 2013, at 95, stands as one of the 20th century’s most notable figures for his efforts to end apartheid. And while he used a combination of methods to dismantle South Africa’s system of institutionalized racism, sports ranked high on the list. Mandela realized the transformative and unifying power of sports and used that power to make changes that protests and diplomacy could not.

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.”

Sports also gives people hope and never has there been a time for hope as there is today.

“Sports have always served as a source of comfort for us in difficult times. The  postponement of live sports events due to coronavirus virus fears puts us in unprecedented territory.” R. Thomas Umstead, senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News shared with Black Westchester.
Justin Walters, former sports director, and anchor for

Former WRNN-TV/Fios1 News and now a sports multi-media journalist for PIX11 agrees sports is a diversion and if there was ever a time for a much-needed diversion, it now, but also agrees the suspensions and cancelations are the right decision, even though the nation will go through hoops withdrawal.

“Sports has always been a diversion from the negativity in our lives. We no longer have that escape,” Justin Walters shares with Black Westchester. “It’s unfortunate and bizarre to see premiere events like March Madness being canceled and the NBA/NHL season being suspended. Albeit a tough decision, it’s the right one. We are still learning more about this virus. So for now, I think you have to be cautious.”

While writing this editorial on Friday the 13th ESPN reported that NASCAR has announced that it is suspending Sunday’s race in Atlanta and next week’s race at Homestead-Miami due to coronavirus concerns. In addition to the NASCAR announcement the Madness continues as The Masters that has been played every year since World War II has been postponed. Some sports analysts are speculating The Masters may be canceled all together this year.

The importance of sports in our life is crucial. Sports help to reduce the levels of stress. They help one to deviate away from other things that may be stressing them in life they are able to focus on.
Sports are a country’s brand. Different countries have been known for particular sports like for instance the Republic of India is known for cricket, Brazil for football and Kenya for athletics. Sports are in this way a special kind of signature and this helps in the preservation of the culture of that country.

The ironic part? If sports fans had been given these new instructions for how to live our lives under different circumstances, it would be something close to utopia. Work from home? No school? Self-quarantine? In the middle of March?

Oh yes, we could have handled all the social distancing you need. Just keep the pizza deliveries coming and the fridge stocked with cold beverages. All we would need is a comfortable couch, a remote control, and wall-to-wall coverage of the NCAA Tournament, spring training, leading up to the NBA Playoffs, the PGA, NASCAR, etc, what more can a diehard sports fan ask for.

And that, of course, is the problem. We aren’t just entering uncharted territory here, with so much of American society bracing for an unprecedented shutdown. We’re doing it without one of the important things that that unites and distracts us.

We’re about to go cold turkey from sports. No spring training or opening day for baseball. No NBA or NHL playoff games on the horizon. No Top 10 Plays on ESPN’s Sports Center to end our day. No international soccer matches on weekend mornings. No high school basketball in our community gymnasiums.

March Madness 2020 means a world without Sports! You name it, and it’s gone — for weeks, for months, maybe longer. Nobody knows when we’ll have our sports back. It is, in a word, depressing.

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About Black Westchester (955 Articles)
Black Westchester - News With The Black Point Of View is an online news magazine for people of color for Westchester and the Tri- State area of New York at every economic level. Our mission is to promote the concept of “community” through media.
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