Responses to the spread of the Corona Virus have caused many sectors of our society to make adjustments to our routines. Sports is no different.
Some of the new protocols are a pain in the ass, but others might help eliminate source of annoyance for fans and athletes alike.
The Pacers will play the Celtics tonight, and the NBA is making health a priority as concern over the spread of the virus is heightened. This morning’s shootaround media availability, which is usually very relaxed and a good opportunity to get one-on-one interviews, was held at a table and podium.
The NBA will have a conference call for owners tomorrow to discuss next level possibilities, which will include playing games in empty arenas and limiting travel for staffs.
Fear of a pandemic on the level of the Spanish Flu in 1918 is causing inconveniences, but might also help eliminate sources of annoyance for fans and athletes alike. Because we are vigilant in maintaining a positive outlook and trying to utilize panic as a level toward a positive result, here is a list of five steps in the right direction that might be included as pro, college, and high school basketball evolves to the Corona Virus world:
- Free throw hand slaps – Unnecessary contact must be curtailed, so the repetitive and meaningless low fives may be a thing of the past. Of course, given the almost constant contact among teammates and opponents, these hand slaps may be comparatively troublesome, but eliminating them may be needed to set a positive example for the general population for whom hand to hand contact is being discouraged. How this traditional show of support began is anyone’s guess, but maybe it can be ended now. Teammates infer emotional support without the inefficiency of stopping after a first foul shot for each teammate to slap hands with the shooter. Just shoot the damn ball.
- End of game handshake lines – There are a dozen reasons to finally stop these idiotic displays of supposed good sportsmanship. Mandating a perfunctory “good game” and hand slap between every man and women on both teams has always been dopey. A few seconds before they were trying to beat the hell out of each other, and now they’re buddies? Too many opponents have taken advantage of that proximity to sucker punch an adversary because of this sappy and ill-conceived tradition.
- Hugs for opponents – Nothing about the NBA annoys an ample slice of fans like opponents hugging each other and laughing together following a game. In baseball, they used to call this fraternization. In the NBA, they call it brotherhood. Fans who have grown to hate visiting teams have trouble digesting overt on-court friendliness. I can’t imagine hugging is good for reducing the chances of spreading the Corona Virus. Let’s end the hugs.
- Autographs – One of the silliest traditions in sports and traditions is the request that an athlete sign his or her name on a ball, shoe, or piece of paper. I guess it’s proof of contact and tangible evidence of a shared moment, but most athletes find it a pain in the ass. Maybe it’s time for fans to realize autographs signed with little more than a squiggle from a Sharpie is nothing to treasure. The NBA is definitely discouraging contact with fans, so the days of athletes signing swag after a game are suspended – hopefully forever.
- Games lost because of the flu – See if you have heard these tips for spreading/contracting the Corona Virus before – wash your hands often, don’t touch your face, avoid shaking hands, sneeze into your elbow, and see a doctor if you have a fever or persistent cough. These are good tips for stopping the spread of all contagious diseases. As athletes maintain vigilance in Corona Virus avoidance, they are also very likely to avoid the flu, colds, strep throat, and other maladies.