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Sports are back, sort of

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As parts of the world slowly lift restrictions put in place at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re seeing some businesses come back online — and some sports, too.

Bundesliga, a European soccer league in Germany, opened its fields May 16. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Monchengladbach (try saying that five times really fast) defeated FC Koln 2-1 on March 11. That was more than two months ago.

Then this past Saturday, the Bundesliga hosted six games with no fans. On top of that, Monchengladbach defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 3-1, showing that the two months of rust didn’t slow them down.

The biggest event was Borussia Dortmund shutting out Schalke 4-0. Raphael Guerreiro scored two goals in the blowout victory. That helped Dortmund stay second in the league standings behind German powerhouse Bayern Munich. Munich is 18-4-4 overall and Dortmund is 16-6-4. Monchengladbach is third at 16-4-6.

Another league that has allowed competition is the Korean Baseball League. Its teams started hitting the diamond May 4 with games televised on ESPN.

Of course, there were also no fans in the stands, but baseball was still being played. All the players, coaches and other personnel are tested before every game to follow safety regulations.

It’s almost surreal to watch a sporting event with no fans. It just doesn’t seem right. Sports wouldn’t exist without fans.

Nowadays, television and broadcasting deals can help keep the industry alive, but how long will that last? How will the players get their paychecks if no one is buying tickets to see them play?

As far as here in America, where we apparently can’t seem to get rid of the coronavirus, professional sports are gearing up to make a return some time this summer.

The NBA hasn’t made a definitive answer on when it will come back, but so far, things are looking like it can resume play soon.

The MLB has come out to say that it plans on playing in July. Nothing is more American than playing baseball on the Fourth of July while eating an overpriced hot dog.

The NHL plans on resuming its season, but as of right now, no one from the league has determined when it will come back. It’s possible it might jump straight into the playoffs when it returns, but everything is speculation at this point. It’s been almost 70 days since a hockey game has been played.

I know plenty of people who are eagerly awaiting to see if the NFL will play on time this year. The league released its regular season schedule, showing that it plans on playing like normal.

The biggest fear is that a second wave of COVID-19 could sweep the nation some time in the fall. If that happens, the NFL will be the leading example on how to handle a pandemic during the sports season.

The PGA Tour is set to resume its revised schedule in June, but obviously with no spectators. I don’t see that sport being affected that much, considering that many people can go out and play golf at their local courses with no issue.

In the world of tennis, there are still no world tournaments, such as the Wimbledon or French Open, but regional tournaments all over the world are still being played without fans. International tennis competition will possibly resume in September.

When talking about local athletic events, I am sad to say that there is not much to report. The N.C. High School Athletic Association canceled all spring sports, which means we won’t see any high school athletic events until at least the fall season.

There’s still golf and tennis going on. There are no official tournaments, but people can play golf at our local courses, such as Wakefield and Heritage. Citizens can also play tennis at the Flaherty courts and the Heritage courts.

So there you have it. Sports is slowly inching its way back. It’s sad to say that things will probably never go completely back to normal until next year at least. There are still plenty of statements being released by health officials on how this COVID-19 pandemic will affect the world.

In the meantime, stay safe and healthy. Please let me know if there are any sports-related stories that you would like to share with The Wake Weekly. I look forward to hearing from you.


Marty Simpkins is the sports editor of The Wake Weekly. He can be reached at 919-424-1779 or marty@wakeweekly.com.

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