For one brief moment in our history, the world stood still. Late in 2019, when the virus was first detected, mankind stopped. Covid-19 was a democratic virus which did not anyone and placed everyone at risk. Life as we knew it was halted.
Every government, business, university, household and individual’s existence was questioned. It was back to square one for all. One year hence, some have come back, but many have succumbed to the pressure, presumably never to be seen again.
It is no different in sports.
Covid-19 displaced sports
In the hierarchy of needs, sports did not seem integral compared to the essentials to survive. Everyone was scrambling for safety and safeguarding their source of sustenance. Sports in any form did not play a role in any of this.
Sporting events, big or small screeched to a halt.
Leisure sporting activities were banned.
Both athletes and fans, for a brief moment, split the ties that bound them.
Sports journalists from all platforms had nothing to do, nothing to report. Sports as a source of livelihood ceased to exist.
Sports kept fighting to get back
After over a year, it still remains unclear if sports as we know it will ever come back. Several of the huge sporting events like the NBA, MLB, NFL, several tennis and golf major events have successfully made a comeback in one form or another, but not without absorbing losses.
Locally, although the PBA has successfully organized a conference in a “bubble,” there were additional costs to bear and revenue losses to absorb.
After over a year, the situation remains the same, the future continues to be vague.
A personal commitment
As this uncertainty looms, I find myself presented with this opportunity to start a sports column. It is an odd moment to receive this break. It is a period where we sportswriters are wanting of content, topics to write about and events to journal. It would be very logical to wait a while, allow the dust to settle, anticipate the arrival of a vaccine or simply accept the offer when we reach herd immunity.
But, it is my firm belief that sports is vital to character formation and nation building. Its absence today is already writing the future of generations to come.
Armed with this commitment, this, my first piece is evidence to accepting this challenge.
I see this troubled moment as an opportunity to restart. It opens an original and innovative door for all. Rather than shrink from the darkness in front of us, let’s fight through it and let light through.
This is the value of sports.
Anyone who is deeply involved in sports completely understands that adversity is a stepping stone to greatness. Numerous stories about teams, athletes, and coaches have time and again demonstrated the unrelenting spirit of man. This is the time, maybe the most important moment in all our lifetimes, that we rise together.
I pray that the stories in this column entertain you.
I wish that the tales in this column engage you.
Above all, I yearn that the words that come out in this column encourage you to be better in all that you do and in all that you are.
Let sports rise.
(Mike Ochosa is an avid sportsman. He has written for various broadsheets and on line publication providing his thoughts and insights on various sports. He is a freelance TV boxing analyst having sat ringside in 14 of Pacquiao’s fights and for various international sports networks as well. He was President of Punchout Boxing Club and is currently President and Program Director of Philippine Habagat Baseball.)
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