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    Sports Are Back!

    By John Chen–

    The vast majority of the California counties are now in the purple tier and under curfew. To compound the bleak situation, winter is coming, greatly hampering outdoor activities. What do sports oriented people like me do now that the pandemic appears to be more widespread and dangerous than ever before? Well, the answer is simple: watch lots of sports on TV and various media.

    Thank goodness professional sports and select college sports are back, providing much stress relief for “COVID fatigue.” I don’t have to watch Korean professional baseball well past midnight, and I don’t have to pretend that the National Corn Hole Championships is an actual major sporting event coveted by ESPN. No offense to all the corn hole fans around the world.

    With the success of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB) “bubbles,” fans all over the world can root and cheer for their teams, or against a much-hated team, like the Dodgers, or a love to hate player such as LeBron James. By the way, congratulations to the Dodgers and LeBron for winning their respective championships during one of the most challenging years. Their championships provided great drama, storylines, and entertainment for us sports fans while we are stuck at home.

    At one point, there was so much sports on TV I felt like a kid in a candy store. I have never changed channels so fast and so many times in such a short period of time going back and forth between games and matches from different sports. The National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs were pitted against the U.S. Open Tennis Championships. The Masters golf championships went up against Major League Soccer (MLS). And now there is pro football competing alongside college football. Pretty soon, college basketball will start and a new season of pro basketball will commence when our beloved Warriors will finally take the court and begin their quest for another title.

    What’s odd, however, is the lack of live fans and the energy and pageantry that come with competing in front of a rowdy, knowledgeable, and passionate crowd. Measuring the decibels of fans collectively roaring or groaning is the backbone of competitive sports at all levels. It’s rather strange to hear the mute of empty, or near empty, stadiums, courts, and fields when there’s an amazing dunk, a homerun, a gooooooaaaaaal, or a touchdown. Despite the oddity, I am thankful there’s sports to watch, to cheer, and to entertain.

    Yes, winter is fast approaching and we are looking at a far less festive holiday season. But us sports fans have a lot to look forward to. Several vaccines appear to be ready for distribution in phases as early as later this month, which is great news for everyone. College football championships, the Super Bowl, and the NCAA Basketball Tournament are all just around the corner in 2021. Before you know it, we’ll be watching the first pitch of MLB opening day and the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Cross our collective fingers!

    John Chen, a UCLA alumnus and an avid sports fan, has competed as well as coached tennis, volleyball, softball, and football teams.

    Published on December 3, 2020