The Changes in Sports Post COVID Era

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For the past few months, we have seen the world suffer from the deadly pandemic. The virus has left lakhs of people dead, lakhs of people infected, and has affected numerous families.

While the pandemic has ensured to send humankind to rethink its ways of living on Earth, it has also secured a complete shutdown of any social and recreational activity. The social life has taken a back seat, and people have been forced after many years to spend quality time with their families.

Two things bring people together – crisis and sports. The caste, creed, religion – all take a backseat when the world faces a crisis and find a unified world. However, sports have their share in bringing people together but on the opposite sides. The charm it eludes, the competition it brings out, and the entertainment it provides make sports an indispensable part of our lives.

                     'The Beauty of Sports Lies in Its Glorious Uncertainty'

Effect of the Virus on Sports

There has been a complete lockdown on almost all the sporting activities, be it professional or leisure. Most of the sports are contact sports or have some element in it, ensuring contact between players and playing equipment. For a contagious virus, holding such sports will provide a breeding ground. The economies are opening up in a phased manner after the lockdown, and governments and experts worldwide have made it clear that we need to learn to live with the virus.

The Changes We Will Witness in the Immediate Post COVID Era

They say, 'prevention is better than cure' and the world is taking the phrase quite seriously at this point. Sports like cricket, football, basketball are known for their adrenaline rush, large crowds, and stadiums. It is hard to imagine these sports being played in empty stadiums. Even the players admit that they are not used to performing in empty stands.

The practice of using saliva to shine the cricket ball has been banned by the International Cricket Council, the apex body for cricket. The swing and shine of the cricket balls are the pride of a bowler. Similarly, European football commenced in empty stadiums. The pride of performing in front of a cheerful crowd has been taken away by the virus. Handshakes after matches, which were so far considered customary and dignified, the spirit of the game has been done away with.

Humanity is known for working out solutions around the change that occurs. Midtjylland, a Danish side, has installed screens in the parking space of their MCH Arena to allow fans to watch matches from inside their cars when the Superliga resumes following its suspension for the coronavirus outbreak. Now, considerable thought is being given to use virtual reality and install giant screens inside the stadiums to give players the feel of playing in the crowded stadiums they are used to. The audience could soon be seen cheering virtually for a live game. Plans are underway to ensure that that traveling teams would come some days advance of the tour to ensure days of the quarantine period. 

A lot of these changes can be tough to adapt to for the players as well as the audience. Amidst the circumstances, the sporting world would brace the changes. Perhaps, these changes would become the new normal. What I am excited to witness, though, is if a cultured namaste would replace the western handshake.

Written by - Harshit Somani

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