The more confused the world becomes from the COVID-19 pandemic the more I have been wondering when and if things will ever return to “normal”, and if things do return to normal, what will that look like?
I am tired of seeing college and professional stadiums either empty or filled with those silly cardboard cutouts. (Although, I did have to laugh when the Huge Teddy bear got bonked in the nose with a foul ball at a Cincinnati Reds baseball game last August and returned the next night covered in splints and gauze).
The piped in music, cheering, and sound effects are an insult to sports enthusiasts everywhere. But I guess the alternative of watching a professional football game being played in an empty and silent stadium would be just as bad if not worse.
The lack of pep bands at high school and college basketball games makes watching those games seem sterile and eerily quiet. You just want to reach out and turn up the sound on your television only to suddenly realize that you hear the familiar squeaking of the thousand dollar pairs of tennis shoes on the hardwoods.
Then we have this whole college football bowl season that has been the strangest of all. When was the last time you can remember that the bowls couldn’t find enough teams to fill all the slots. And the teams that did choose to participate in postseason bowls have been dropping like flies because of COVID related protocols within the invited teams.
The mere fact that there is still a college football playoff in the offing at all is a minor miracle in itself. Of course, the four teams involved (Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Ohio State) seemed to come through the pandemic nearly unscathed. Go figure.
When the high school students return for second semester classes there will still be social distancing, the wearing of face masks, excessive washing of hands and the use of a good sanitizer by the gallons. Of course it will all be in the name of safety as well it should be. I am just hoping and praying that by the end of this school year there will be proms, graduations, and award ceremonies once again.
Perhaps the new normal will be somewhat different. Let’s just hope it is a better different than what we have been experiencing for what seems like decades.
Doug Phillips is a freelancer for the Schuyler Sun. Reach him via email at SCHsports@lee.net