COVID-19 shutting down sports games shows how much people need them
By Mo Hussain, Sports Reporter
If there is something I have learned since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s that the return of live professional sports proved to be much needed. So much so that I would argue professional sports should be classified as a “psychologically essential industry.”
Although sports do not provide essential goods or services needed for our survival, what many of those who don’t keep up with professional sports don’t understand is that sports bring fans a kind of experience that is incomparable to any other form of entertainment.
Unlike keeping up with your favorite TV show or waiting for part two of your favourite movie series, sports games don’t have a “series finale” or a “final chapter.” Sports has pretty consistently delivered its viewers a new year long season every single year for decades.
Fans have had players and coaches participate in their final games which is somewhat of a “season finale,” but fans still keep in mind that they can get together with their friends and family to enjoy watching their favorite team the following season as they know their favorite TV series’ is going to continue.
The concurrent viewing experience of sports is also an important aspect. Whether you’re a multimillionaire watching from your Coal Harbour penthouse or a low-income family who has to watch on a small screen, when the game kicks off, everyone is united by watching the same game. There aren’t any “spoilers” or “leaks.” The live, raw, and unpredictable nature of sport keeps all its fans at the edge of their seats.
To some extent, there is also a unique personal connection that sports fans feel with their favorite players and teams. After all, it’s not like what fans are watching is choreographed. Fans have been immersed with both the highs and lows of their favorite teams and players which can lead to a bond and a connection fans can feel. The experience is one full of rewarding emotions.
So, when fans who have been keeping up with their favorite teams for 10, 20, 30, 40 or more years have that type of entertainment pulled out from under them, finding an alternative escape to fill in that missing gap can be difficult.
For many, sports provide an escape; an escape from work, school, personal issues, and so forth. For those folks, watching their favorite team climb up the ranks may be the only thing they look forward to and can give them joy with all the chaos surrounding their everyday lives.
Particularly in unprecedented times like these where people are losing their loved ones, livelihoods, social life, and sanity, being immersed in watching your favourite team for a moment can lift some of the weight off your shoulders.