2020 has been defined by uncertainty and sudden change. The ball dropped in Times Square nearly one year ago as the United States moved into the new decade. As usual, spirits were high on December 31st with the clean slate of the new year coming into fruition. The ball dropped and 2020 officially arrived. 

There isn’t a day during the calendar year that’s filled with more excitement than January 1st. This is the one day where most people attempt to make a change in their lives for the better. On January 1, 2020, nobody knew what was about to happen in the United States, but this would soon change.  

On January 21st, the CDC announced that the first confirmed case of COVID-19 occurred in the United States. At this point, nobody thought much of the deadly virus. Business as usual was still conducted in America. By March, the full effect of COVID-19 was being felt to some capacity by every person in the United States.

COVID Shutdowns

COVID destroyed the American economy. Many jobs went remote and the hospitality sector of the economy became virtually nonexistent. People were forced to watch their businesses crumble right before their eyes. American citizens lost loved ones all over the world and were mandated to minimize contact with others.

The COVID pandemic temporarily destroyed the usual way of life for everyone in America. The country is still recovering, but a state of normalcy is beginning to occur once again in the United States. 

The Effect of COVID on the Sports’ World

Every athlete was affected by COVID to some degree. Youth basketball players had their season immediately halted just like professionals in the NBA. The sports world changed forever when Utah Jazz Center, Rudy Gobert, tested positive for COVID-19. The NBA immediately paused their season and players were sent home.

Many other leagues followed suit including the NHL and MLB. The NHL stopped their season, and the MLB ended spring training with opening day rapidly approaching. The NFL didn’t have an in-person draft and offseason meetings were conducted over Zoom.

Fans were watching professional athletes play video games against each other for a sense of entertainment. The country needed something to cling onto in a time of uncertainty, and video games were one of the only options for sports fans around the nation.

The Return of Sports

COVID devastated the country, but Americans never stopped fighting. That’s what this country was built on and continues to pride itself on to this day. There were times when the virus was winning the battle, but our country wouldn’t allow COVID-19 to win the war.

Sports played a big role in helping the nation heal. This isn’t the first time that sports have made an impact in the United States after a tragedy. Baseball helped the country recover after 9/11. The MLB helped Americans return to a sense of normalcy after the entire nation was turned upside down on September 11, 2001. 

When sports returned after the COVID hiatus in the summer, the country began to heal from the pandemic. Sports were one of a few things that people could cling to for a sense of certainty. 

Sports in the heat of the pandemic gave Americans the ability to become lost in competition. For two or three hours every night, people could turn off the news and be dazzled by amazing plays and phenomenal storylines that took place throughout all sports leagues. 

Fans weren’t present at games initially, but this didn’t matter. Having sports on television was a step in the right direction towards a pre-COVID world. The specific sport didn’t matter to Americans. Knowing that the television schedule featured live sporting events was more than enough to give citizens a sense that life would become better soon.

Sports gave us the opportunity to come together once again. Professional competitions helped us win the war against COVID. Sports will always be part of the glue that holds the foundation of this country together. 

This is why sports helped heal the nation in 2020. 

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Tanner Kern is a former Division I football player at Lafayette College and a graduate of the University of Connecticut. He is currently a writer for Knup Sports and the Sports 2.0 Network. He is the host of Between the Lines, the official show of Baseball Spotlight, and the main contributor for the website.

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