The coronavirus pandemic has been challenging for everyone in different ways, and has most definitely taken its toll on professional athletes and fans of pro sports. Now, some wonder whether the situation may have forever changed the sports world, and not necessarily in a negative way.
March Madness was cancelled. Major golf tournaments including the Masters were postponed, and the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball have all been put on hold.
The changes are causing athletes and fans to have even more trouble coping with the coronavirus crisis, according to MD & General Psychiatrist Elssy Oms. “Sports is not just for fans and athletes, it’s how they cope with emotional stress in life, and regular day to day stress,” according to Oms.
That stress is now at an all time high.
“You don’t really know when it’s going to end,” says Jarrod Saltalamaccia, former Miami Marlins star and World Series Champion with the Red Sox. “Or how to kind of prepare for the next step. That is what scares baseball players or athletes in general is that unknown.”
He adds that although he has never been a germaphobe, there could be varying degrees of comfort for players when baseball does return.
“There are guys who it will play in their minds a little bit, I mean you’re touching a baseball, you’re throwing it to a guy, guys like to lick their finfers and get a better grip on the ball. You’re spitting all over the place, sunflower seeds, you’re diving where other people have dived, so there is kind of a health risk I would say that’s going to play in come players minds.”
Unfortunately, feeding off the crowd’s energy may not be an option for a while, with professional leagues considering a return that would not include fans there in the stands.
“It’s Dopomine,” says Oms. “It’s rewarding.”
Saltalamacchia adds, “Every ache every pain goes away for that moment and you get goosebumps. And you just get a rush of adrenaline. There’s just such tradition. And that’s what our nation needs right now. something positive to look forward too.”
“If anything, it’s going to be a huge motivator,” adds Oms. “So maybe we lost motivation in one sense, because of how traumatic it’s been, but thinking of it in that sense, that’s what’s really going to change. The cullture of sports, and it’s going to make us united and stronger probably.”