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Doug's Dugout: Live sporting events and COVID
Doug’s Dugout

Doug's Dugout: Live sporting events and COVID

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It was great to actually be at a live sporting event this past weekend where things almost seemed “normal.”

At the Crawdads baseball game last Sunday, there were surprisingly quite a few fans in attendance and most of them were sitting on the bleachers. I didn’t see anyone wearing a mask but most in attendance were doing an awesome job with the six-foot social distancing “suggestion.”

About the only thing that seemed to be missing was the concession stand, but that certainly didn’t put a damper on what proved to be a very exciting game.

As Nebraska sees more and more COVID-19 restrictions being lifted with each passing day, it makes learning and re-learning the rules a week-to-week experience. Just a couple of weeks ago I wrote an article explaining the strict and strange rules that the Crawdads would be closely following for the season. Two weeks later, most of those “guidelines” had evaporated.

I would certainly have to say that the loosening of the restrictions made for a more pleasant sporting event experience. But one has to wonder how much more things will be changing before school classes resume this fall and in what direction those changes will be occurring.

In many states the virus is ramping up again with big jumps in positive cases being reported. Some areas are even thinking of locking down again if the numbers keep on the increase.

Again, the inconsistency of all this virus mess is a nightmare in itself. Do we wear masks? Don’t we wear masks? Can we go back to restaurants? Do we have to stay home and eat in? Can we start holding sporting events? Do we put sporting events on hold until a vaccine is found? Considering all the potential outcomes is a nightmare indeed.

Restrictions change from state to state but, in reality, they could easily change from county to county and even city to city.

While visiting Mount Rushmore in South Dakota last week about 50% of the people attending the evening illumination ceremony were wearing face masks yet, ironically, all of the people were pushed shoulder to shoulder. Either that was one HUGE single family or the social distancing suggestion was being put on hold for an evening.

Keeping that scenario in mind, I have to wonder how things will work in football stadiums and volleyball arenas this fall. Will they be 100% full? How about 75%, 50% or even 25% full? Will families sit together. Will there be measurable social distancing rules in place? And how will these restrictions (if we see any at all) have an effect on the financial look on sporting programs throughout the country?

University of Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos said this past week that if Memorial Stadium in Lincoln is limited to 50% capacity for home football games that the athletic department would lose approximately $6 million a game.

There are some very critical decisions that must be made within the next three weeks according to Moos. Thank your lucky stars that you won’t be the one having to make those difficult decisions. A nightmare indeed!

Doug Phillips is a freelancer for the Schuyler Sun. Reach him via email at SCHsports@lee.net 

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