Lacing up Like Never Before

On March 11th 2020, the world of sports was changed forever. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic making its way to the United States and Rudy Gobert, a professional basketball player for the Utah Jazz testing positive, the NBA suspended its season. Following the events in the NBA, other professional sports were not far behind with the postponement of their season. Within a week, all professional and college sports were shut down. 

When the NBA shut down, it was a surprise to everyone. No professional sport had been affected by Covid-19, and it made the world realize that the heroes we see on TV are human. This pause came shortly after the NBA all-star week and the league was gearing towards the playoffs. After months of hearing no update on when the world would get to see the players take the court again, a rumor of “the bubble” came about. With this announcement senior Jack Dewey saw the light at the end of the tunnel. He saw a way the season could come back, “Not until the rumor of the bubble came out did I think it was possible.” 

The bubble was essentially a glorified prison. No fans were allowed, players were not allowed to leave the hotel premises, and only six reporters were permitted to quarantine and make the trip. After a couple weeks, there were no positive tests, and Dewey thought that “the bubble was executed perfectly” and “it created a safe environment for the players to finish out the season.”

The WNBA 2020 season was set to start May 15th. With Covid-19 in full effect, they, like many other professional sports, put their season on hold. Using inspiration from the NBA, a bubble format was put in place to play out their season. No fans were allowed in attendance, creating an interesting experience for the players. Junior Ashley Steadman thinks, “It was most likely bizarre at first, but in the end not having fans probably just made all the teams get that much closer and bond so much more.” Many fans present a bias towards the “bubble” season and don’t validate the champions of the season, the Seattle Storm. Steadman, being a basketball player herself, sees, “They worked just as hard as all the other teams, and they came out champions in the end. For anyone to take that away from them would be wrong.”

The NHL was close to completing their regular season when the playing was put on hold. Senior Klara Potter says, “The future was really unpredictable. We had no idea how widespread Covid-19 would get,  so I thought it would be best to keep the players and staff safe and just cancel the season.” However, the bubble format was used and the league restarted with a round robin. Potter concedes, “I like how the league covered the seats up with NHL themed tarps so that it felt less empty.” 

In MLB, there is a 162 game schedule, and as the virus kept spreading, executives, players, and fans realized that the “normal” for a baseball season was not going to happen. It was later announced that a history making season would take place at only 60 games. Senior Jacob Bickmore acknowledges the hard work that went into the season, “There were a few bad things that happened, like the Marlins and Cardinals having to take time off due to cases spiking, but they overcame those problems very well.” Like the WNBA, fans seem to be hindering the Dodgers’ championship run. Bickmore surmises, “Do I believe the Dodgers will forever go down as the team who won the shortened season? Yes. But never a day I will say that they didn’t deserve or didn’t earn their ring.”