PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – APRIL 8
By Leo Haggerty

TO PLAY OR NOT TO PLAY

First of all, and I will start EVERY article with this paragraph, sports pales in comparison with what is occurring with the Coronavirus. Hopefully, the columns that I, and the rest of our correspondents, provide you is a momentary escape from the trials and tribulations that Americans, and the rest of the world’s population, are experiencing. The COVID-19 is not a video game that you can press reset and get a new life. This is real and dangerous so, above all, be prudent and stay safe.

Here’s the question that’s on everyone’s mind right now.  Sports or no sports?  This, my most loyal readers, is the major question that all professional as well as collegiate athletic leagues are wrestling with to answer.

All groups associated with athletic events are struggling to come up with a date when their specific sport will return to the American landscape.  The decision to either resume or completely cancel a season is just as important as whether to start a new campaign on time or delay its opening.  Truly, this is a decision that will be of monumental impact so let’s look at the facts, shall we?

Here’s what we do know.  This pandemic is going to run it’s course.  It’s going to spread the dark cloud of death throughout all 50 states in the Union.  There’s no denying it.

We also know that the best scientific minds in the United States are working day and night on a vaccine that will eradicate COVID-19.  My money’s on someone in the medical community coming up with a vaccine like Dr. Jonas Salk did to eliminate polio.

On the other side of the coin, here’s what we do not know. The powers that be in all avenues of sports have no idea when that vaccine will become available.  Are we talking months or years?

So, here’s the questions that sports league’s have to answer.  Until that cure is found, should they mandate the resumption of sports as soon as possible?  Should sports allow for a reasonable time for athletes to prepare for meaningful competition?  How big of a risk is exposure to all the participants?  All legitimate concerns.

All choices have consequences and this one will be no different.  If the decision is to resume play works, the leagues that have “rolled the dice” will be rewarded.

Conversely, if the choice to resume play leads to a continuation of the pandemic, those leagues will be vilified.  Especially, god forbid, if it leads to the death of someone involved.  That would be catastrophic.

I guess you would say that this is the moment when the top administration in specific sports will earn their enormous salaries.  In this Easter season, the choice of when an individual league starts or resumes their season or continues to postpone it will be remembered forever.

Truly, that decision will be in the minds of sports fans like a tattoo.  If it’s right, it’s “Hosanna, Hosanna” but it’s “Crucify Him, Crucify Him” if it’s wrong.

The only advice I can offer is procure as much intel as you can before you make a decision.  Then, choose wisely and don’t be afraid to err on the side of caution.  We’re all counting on that.