Ben Simmons sports

Last night, I experienced something I haven’t felt in what seems like forever. In the span of 30 minutes, I watched Aaron Judge crush a 3-run home run in the 9th inning as well as admired an entertaining Lakers vs. Clippers game that came down to the final shot. I witnessed the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Sports are back… sort of.

2020 has been an unpredictable and unprecedented year. Between a global pandemic, a looming election, and a cesspool of arguments on social media that make me want to bash my head into a wall, sports are far from the most important thing to be discussing. However, I speak for a lot of people when I say sports are a much-needed distraction.

I’ve been living in New York City throughout this pandemic. Besides a few weekend trips to my parents’ house this summer, I’ve been in the city 85% of the time. It’s hard to put into words how different NYC was in March and April. When I’m telling you I was afraid to go outside, I truly mean it. For the first few weeks, the only times I went outside of my apartment were for trips to the grocery store once a week. I also left my apartment for my weekly Friday night pizza and each day, I would stand outside for a few minutes for some fresh hair. That’s all I did for about eight weeks. Even though I was in NYC, I’ll be the first to tell you that I had it easier than most. All I had to do was stay inside and watch a lot of television and movies. For a guy who adores pop culture and entertainment, staying inside was easy. I’m not a first responder or healthcare hero that risked their lives to save others. My neighborhood wasn’t hit as hard as certain areas in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. Many families had it far worse. So once again, I’m extremely fortunate and lucky to be in the situation that I was in.

We all need a distraction. When I say, “we,” I speak for all of Americans and even all humans by saying we need a distraction from what’s going on in 2020. That’s where sports come in. Just because I want a distraction doesn’t mean I’m forgetting about the virus. The virus is still here and it’s still a threat to civilization. However, watching a few basketball and baseball games was a feeling that I want to replicate for the rest of the year. It was so refreshing to see Twitter make memes about a picture with LeBron and Kawhi. After seeing 325 Twitter videos of random people with no medical background telling me how to protect myself from a virus they’ve never studied, an NBA joke could not have come at a better time.

Sports are the best. They unite people of different backgrounds, races, genders, and religions. We may not be able to agree on if we should or shouldn’t be wearing a mask (lol), but at least we can all agree that the Clippers missed Montrezl Harrell on the glass last night.

Sports aren’t perfect. They have problems, too. The NBA, MLS, WNBA (Sabrina Ionescu is the Queen of NY), PLL, NHL, and UFC are all competing in bubbles, but that doesn’t guarantee safety. Players can still make questionable decisions involving strip clubs that could potentially put the entire bubble in jeopardy. The MLB has a big COVID problem and it’s called the Miami Marlins. The NFL, who has had the most time to develop a course of action, still does not have a definitive plan for dealing with the virus. College football may have to play in the spring. There is still an ongoing battle for social justice in this country. Plus, the NBA is in hot water after an ESPN investigation revealed abuse complaints and mistreatment of players in NBA training academies in China.

I apologize for beating a dead horse, but sports are not the most important issue at hand. That being said, for a few hours a day, sports provide a much-needed escape from reality. Is that such a bad thing? We can only hope that every league takes the necessary precautions to keep their sport up and running for the remainder of the year. I feel like I’m the overprotective dad telling his daughter to make good decisions before she goes off to her first school dance. But if players, coaches, owners, managers, and commissioners need a reminder, here it is: Be smart and make good decisions. If you need me, I’ll be on my couch all weekend.

Excited for sports to come back? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

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