Sports in the era of COVID-19

Staff Writer
Herald Democrat
Michael Hutchins

As this pandemic continued to develop, I had a strong feeling that it would impact many parts of daily life from how I work to how I shop for groceries and dine out.

While I expected it to affect a lot, I have found myself surprised here and there with things I never anticipated. In the most recent case, I’ve found myself surprised at how it impacted sports.

I must preface this by saying I’ve never been the biggest sports fan in the world. However, recently I could not help but noticed the ways that the current climate has changed the game... regardless of what that game happens to be.

I first noticed it in August with baseball with the creative way that sports teams filled the stadiums in an age when people cannot gather. Instead, baseball teams were playing to crowds of cardboard cutouts, including pictures of real fans.

Some teams have hidden some amusing people in the crowd, including cats, an imperial stormtrooper and Bernie from Weekend at Bernie’s.

Even football has had its changes. The National Football League announced last week that it will be changing out its longtime theme for Monday Night Football.

A rework of Hank Williams Jr.’s, “All My Rowdy Friends are Coming Over Tonight,” has been the opening for Monday Nights for the better part of the past 30 years, but it is being replaced with a song by Little Richard.

Common theories as to why point out that crowds, rowdy or otherwise, likely won’t be coming over tonight.

However, both of these sports have fared better than professional wrestling. Since early march, federations including the WWE have wrestled, pun fully intended, with how to hold events without an audience. In the case of the the WWE’s competitor, AEW, the audience has been filled with other wrestlers who were competing that night. This has led to some interesting story line opportunities, but it isn’t quite the same.

The WWE recently found its own work around by filling the audience with videos of fans from across the world watching from the safety of their homes. This has led to some amusing instances where some sneaky fans, have used odd video, including wrestlers from other companies, to fill the void left in the audience.

Happy birthday to Randall Chaney of Sherman; Anita Ferman of Howe; Erika Curry of Allen; Mike Burre of Dallas; and Glenda Saylor of Balch Springs.