MY PITCH

Hope for the best, be ready for the worst

By ALEX SPONSELLER
Posted 7/2/20

Some summer sports camps have begun this week and some other sports leagues, such as Little League, will be opening next week. Finally, we are taking the first real step toward the return of …

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MY PITCH

Hope for the best, be ready for the worst

Posted

Some summer sports camps have begun this week and some other sports leagues, such as Little League, will be opening next week. Finally, we are taking the first real step toward the return of sports.

I wrote about this last week and shared my optimism. I am optimistic, there have been very in depth procedures and guidelines that have been established and will be practiced. The overall COVID-19 numbers are dropping. We have to start somewhere, and this seems to be it.

Although I am excited to see this progress being made and am happy for local athletes, there is still the risk.

Let me make myself clear, I believe the risk is worth taking, especially considering how good of a job these programs have done at keeping participants safe. But, it’s impossible to ignore the risk, which is what I want to discuss here.

What will happen if, and quite possibly when, an athlete tests positive for the virus? The standard procedure has been that person obviously cannot participate for at least two weeks, and those exposed must be tested as well.

We’re already seeing it in professional sports now that those teams are beginning to get back to work … it is so rare to see only one person test positive at a time, almost unheard of.

So, what will it mean when multiple players, or coaches, or both, test positive? Will teams have to forfeit games? Will they need to adjust roster sizes? Will opposing teams need to be tested? Could an entire league be affected?

The potential ripple effect is scary to think about and is unfortunately legitimate. Just to reiterate, my point is not to argue against these leagues returning, I am for getting things going.

I guess I have two points here.

One, we need to make sure all participants are vigilant in obeying the rules and regulations. There can’t be any slip ups, shortcuts, oversights, everything needs to be perfect when executing hygiene and monitoring the disease. Two, we must also all be prepared to see things backfire. I am certainly not guessing that it will happen, but to say it won’t or that it’s highly unlikely is incorrect. It is unfortunately on the table.

I apologize for putting a damper on the start of sports. I don’t mean to put a dark cloud over what is going to be an exciting two weeks, but at the same time, I do feel like it is necessary to address all possibilities, good and bad.

Like most debates in life, the whole returning from COVID argument usually produces passionate, differing views. Seems like people are either all in for returning and lifting the bans, or are vehemently against opening the door. I’m trying to find the middle ground here, we can be excited and get our feet wet and take a step in the right direction while also being aware of the risks and being mentally and physically prepared to handle them.

That is my unbiased, journalist take. But here is my personal one.

If you ask me, if a team has a COVID breakout, more than say a person or two, I feel that the team should be shut down for the remainder of the season unfortunately. Between handling the roster, making sure the other members are safe, ensuring other teams are safe, while also having to rework the schedule, standings, whatever, I feel like there should be a clear number that if exceeded, should shut a team down. I would hate to see it, but I am for quick, swift decisions, especially when it comes to an unusual situation like this.

So, overall, on a brighter note, let’s have some fun here and be excited to finally hit the field again. Let’s continue to listen to the government and do what we need to to make sure everyone is safe and healthy, especially when it comes to the youngsters.

It’s on us to make sure these leagues are seen through this summer, let’s all do our best to make sure it happens.

There was some big news on the national stage, as the Patriots made a splash and signed former NFL MVP Cam Newton to play quarterback. We now have our answer for who will be Tom Brady’s successor, assuming things go according to plan.

I am all for the signing, mainly because of the price. It’s a low-risk, one-year deal with a maximum value of 7.5 million, which in quarterback speak, is dirt cheap, next to nothing.

I’m not a huge fan of Newton on or off the field to be honest with you. He’s an incredible athlete that is a nightmare matchup for defenses, but the fact that he struggles with accuracy passing scares me. Not to mention he’s in his 30’s, is coming off an injury, entering a new system. I’m also not huge on showboating and he does that with the best of them.

But hey, he’s an experienced verteran that has accomplished quite a bit in this league. And overall, he’s an athlete, he doesn’t need a whole lot of practice to compete, he should be able to hit the ground running based on the fact that he’s been around the block.

I don’t expect him to be here beyond this season. If he fails, then the Pats will eat the pennies spent and move on to the next one. If he succeeds, he will likely seek a big contract next year that the Pats won’t match, they never do.

Either way, it’s great to see Bill Belichick refuse to accept a down year, Newton will be entertaining to watch, and there is little to no risk involved. Sign me up.

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