PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – JULY 25
By Leo Haggerty

WHAT TO EXPECT

There are two big question surrounding the return of professional team sports.  The first is whether any of the leagues will be able to successfully navigate through the pandemic minefield to complete their regular season and playoffs.  You already know my feelings and they are that it will “crash and burn” in an epic fail but that discussion is for a later date.

The second, and this is the one I want to delve into today, is what is our expectation on the level of play.  That is the big unknown.

Players are being asked to “flip the switch” and come back with the same zeal and enthusiasm that they showed in the past.  That’s going to be difficult for two big reasons.

First, there’s the unknown.  None of the players in any of the sports can look in the mirror and say that they won’t be exposed to Covid-19 and test positive.  That’s because they have to trust all the individuals that they come in contact with every day are coronavirus free.  It’s out of their control and that has to weigh on their psyche, right.

The second is that the players as well as the coaches and team officials will be extremely concerned with what is happening on the home front especially the NBA.  All team personnel will be sequestered, away from any family member, from the beginning of July until the end of August.  That’s darn near a deployment and none of them signed up for that duty.

Plus, you have those individuals who have issues on the home front such as a baby on the way or elderly family members who are at a higher risk of exposure or a friend who is hospitalized for Covid-19.  Hard to concentrate on the task at hand when there are critical situations occurring that they cannot be of any help.  That will take its toll as well.

So, my thoughts are that, when it comes to the level of play, don’t expect too much for the first week or two.  There’s months of rust to brush off and outside issues twill deter everyone from concentrating on their craft.

Hey, they’re only human.  Cut them some slack until they get their sea legs back under them.