Sports still doing what they do best — offering escape from the world around us

Published 6:15 pm Monday, May 25, 2020

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The last few months have taken their toll on all of us in different ways. We can’t imagine what the families of people in the medical profession have gone through, but everyone has been impacted in some way, even if it the difficulty is just not being able to get out of the house.

Some of our country’s biggest escapes — a way to ignore real life for a few hours — have been put on hiatus. That includes sports, which have a way of bringing everyone together.

The NCAA Tournament was canceled, the Masters was rescheduled, the MLB season was delayed and the NBA was stopped abruptly with hope to return at some point. For the last few months, the closest thing to live sports on television was “The Last Dance,” a 10-part Michael Jordan documentary that gave sports fans something to talk about and debate.

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So, we admit it was refreshing to turn on the television the last few weekends and see some version of sports.

Last week, it was a golf match between four of the world’s best players and a NASCAR race at Darlington.

This week, it was another golf match between four celebrities — Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady — and one of NASCAR’s signature events in the Coca Cola 600.

No fans were allowed at either event, but they both seemed to go off without a hitch. It was clear from the NASCAR drivers wearing masks after the race that every precaution was made to keep everyone safe.

Golf is supposed to return in full force in two weeks, while NASCAR has another race at Charlotte Wednesday as the circuit continues to play catch-up.

Over the course of this virus, there’s been a lot of public officials saying some equivalent of “if you want to see football in the fall, practice social distancing.”

Well, football is no longer a far-away date on the calendar. Last week, we hit the 100-day mark before the return of college football, assuming the season actually kicks off on that date.

Some universities are planning to have athletes back on campus soon. Others aren’t sure any kind of football season can actually take place.

We’ll let talk radio discuss what happens if the SEC plays a full schedule but only half the Big Ten decide to participate, but there’s clearly a lot to figure out over the next few months.

We all want to see football season in the fall — with at least some fans — but it’s a real question mark right now.

Hopefully, sporting events the last two weeks have helped provide some sort of hope that it is possible, even if the season has to begin with no fans in the stands.