You never knew how much you needed sports until sports were gone, did you? 

Perhaps it was missing NCAA March Madness or trying to tolerate the NBA “bubble.” Maybe the baseball stadiums with cut-outs of grinning fans in the stands made you a little crazy. 

Perhaps it was more local for you, as when your weekly pool tournament or Texas Hold ‘Em game shut down. 

Most likely, the worst moment came when the only sporting events on TV were videos of 10-year-old college football games—and you watched them anyway. 

The pandemic did not just choke down the global economy, but it prohibited your participation in and viewing of sports. Thank heavens for injury reports, trades, and draft days. Otherwise, there would have been no sporting news at all. 

Now that our favorite events are returning, we have learned some important lessons.

Sports Media Reunites You With the Games & Athletes You Missed

You missed the commentators and the pundits, right? At its best, the media is capable of providing virtually round-the-clock updates on scores, team news, and the individuals you have come to feel you know personally. 

During the pandemic, you felt sorry for sports pundits and reporters. It seemed as if they were treading water. As the league's all resume play, it is heartening to know you can get a daily or even hourly dose of sporting news on sites like ESPN NY

It is a true luxury to be able to select which former jocks you respected when they played who are now offering keen insight into what is really happening during a game. Of course, every true sports fan has a pundit or two whom they enjoy despising.

Stadiums Are Filling Up Again

As health concerns diminish, it is not just the athletes returning to the pitch but the fans are back as well. 

Dodger Stadium held a second, informal opening day two months after the season began in 2021, allowing full attendance for the first time since 2019, and 52,000 spectators showed. 

In the fall of 2021, college and pro football stadiums roared back to life and the Breeders Cup, held at Del Mar, sold out before the first race. 

The real irony here is that so many American workers seem to be resigning. People are disgusted with their jobs and are not going back. They are, however, going back to enjoy their favorite sporting events.

The Quality of Competition Is Undiminished

You might think, after a fallow year, that the level of play you could anticipate from all types of athletes would be somewhat diminished. 

When you got back on the golf course or tennis court, were you not a little rusty? Oddly enough, the opposite has proven the case with the athletes we follow. 

The level of competition seems to have risen in virtually every league. Playoffs have revealed incredible parity among teams in professional basketball, hockey, and football. 

One of the most controversial events held in 2021 was the Tokyo Olympic Games. Despite the health concerns, the games proceeded and the quality of athletic performances was astounding. 

World Athletics, the international governing body of global athletics, quantitatively compared the results and determined the 2020 games were the “highest quality major event in history.”

Sports Itself Helped the World Rise Above the Pandemic

Sporting events, as you may recognize, are ironic pursuits. In one respect, they pit groups of people against one another—either as athletes or as fans. 

In another respect, sports itself overcomes all distinctions between human beings and lifts them to a mutual place of comprehension, appreciation, and respect. 

NBA great Pau Gasol captured the essence of the importance of sports in combatting the pandemic:

"Athletes are role models in society. . . . Let’s utilize that in a time of need like this one in order to send the right message, in order to do the right thing, in order to unite and bring the best out of people in a time of uncertainty and adversity.”


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