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Sports fans in a world with no sports

In a word, life without sports has been weird. The COVID-19 virus has swept across the nation, shutting down nearly everything. There would be no NCAA basketball tournaments in March, no Opening Day for baseball, no NHL or NBA playoffs, no Masters Tournament the second Sunday of April. This is all necessary, of course. Stopping the spread of the virus is and should be the number one priority in the world right now. Sports should take a backseat. But even with that being said, there seems to be a void in the hearts and daily lives of many sports fans.

“Sports are something I care about deeply,” Oswego State sophomore Brian Rudman said. “They provide entertainment for me, along with something to believe in and root for. They also give you feel-good stories that can lift feelings and provide hope or inspiration. So especially in times like these, where everyone could use a distraction from all the negatives that are going around, not having sports to be that positive for society is really something that I’ve missed.”

Sports are not more important than the real world issues happening, but the distraction and entertainment they provide on a daily basis is valuable to many. 

 “To pass the time, I’ve been watching old games and studying different players to fill my addiction to sports,” Oswego State sophomore Brandon Ladd said.

The re-airing of games across various sports networks has been great. But there are only so many old games sports fans can consume until they crave the real thing. The MLB season was set to begin on March 26, but now in early April  there does not seem to be a feasible option on the table for starting the season anytime soon.

“I was really excited about the upcoming season and watching the Mets play every single night,” Oswego State sophomore Aaron Valentino said. “I miss the walk-offs and home runs as well as the shutouts and no-hitters. Baseball has always been a sign of hope for me, a sign of school winding down and summer right around the corner, but now it’s gone and it does not look like there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

One interesting aspect of Ladd, Rudman and Valentino is that they are all broadcasting students at Oswego State with a focus on sports. College is an interesting middle ground between still being a sports fan, while also getting ready to cover sports from an unbiased standpoint after graduation.

“As someone who has just started covering sports for various media outlets over the past two years, to have that mostly taken away from me is hard,” Valentino said. “I fell in love with sports broadcasting and [to] not be able to do it right now really hurts.” 

Some hope through the lack of sports has been through the National Football League, which held its free agency period and will go on with the draft in two weeks. The NFL has been at the center of sports talk radio, as well as sports journalist coverage over the past month or so.

“My number one sports media responsibility right now is writing about the Dallas Cowboys, so it hasn’t affected me much there because the off-season is still happening,” Ladd said. “As far as my podcasts, I’ve had to dig a bit deeper for stories and debates, just more prep time.”

As for passing the time without sports and in most cases without friends, the answer seems to be pretty universal for most college-aged students. 

“Playing lots of video games, watching movies, tv shows, comedy specials,” Rudman said. “I’ve also just been getting outside to play basketball or football with my brother just to get out of the house for a little bit.”

Valentino summarized the way it seems most sports fans are feeling in this time.

“I hope this ends sooner rather than later.”

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