Professional sports affected by social distancing

Isabella Lee, Staff writer

The world of professional sports has seen some very interesting changes this year. From a signifi-cantly shorter baseball season to a lack of a preseason for football, things have certainly changed in order to score goals, points, touch-downs and home runs during the pandemic.

Sports fans already had to adjust to having hockey and basketball playoffs months later than origi-nally anticipated, but when these games started up again, one key item was missing: the fans.

Many sports took measures to ensure their players and staff could remain as safe as possible during the pandemic. For their delayed playoffs, the NBA opted to play their games and have their players and staff stay in a “bubble” in order to reduce travel and as a result reduce the risk of infection. The NBA’s bubble is located at the ESPN’s Wide World of Sports in-side Walt Disney World in Orlan-do, Florida.

The NHL took a similar ap-proach when they resumed their playoff games. One key difference from the NBA, however, is that the NHL has been using two “hub cities,” depending on whether the team is in the Eastern or Western Conference. Teams in the Eastern Conference played their games in Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena, while Western Conference teams played in Edmonton’s Rogers Place. Once the Stanley Cup Finals are under-way, the games will be played in Edmonton.

The MLB and NFL continue to travel to their opponents’ stadi-ums in order to play their games, but changes have been made in order to combat the virus. A typ-ical MLB season has 162 games, but due to the delayed start to the season and the desire to end the season on time, this year’s season was significantly shortened to 60 games.

The NFL opted to cancel their preseason and start their normal season as usual on Sept. 13. Inter-national games that were sched-uled, including one in Mexico City and four in London, were rescheduled to be played in the United States. The Hall of Fame Game, scheduled to be played on Aug. 6, was rescheduled for Aug. 5, 2021. The Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers will play each other as originally intended.

The lack of fans at most of these games has certainly been strange for sports fans across the country. For many fans, going four months without any sports on TV certain-ly took a toll on keeping people busy, especially as the dates of the NBA and Stanley Cup playoffs came and went.

We had the NFL and MLB drafts during this time, but it was nothing like having games played again. I, like many other sports fans, was overjoyed upon hearing about the return of sports, but then seeing these games being played without fans just wasn’t the same. Be it the Washington Foot-ball Team or the Capitals (my per-sonal favorites), the lack of colors and cheers was nothing less than disheartening. The sports world is looking very otherworldly right now, but in due time, we’ll all be reunited in stadiums and in the streets of our cities once again, cheering on our beloved teams as they work their way towards win-ning prestigious championships