By Connor Franco and Nick Salomon
After a hectic 2020, the sports world had a year like no other. Early this year, former NBA star Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash along with his daughter Gianna Bryant and others. The death of two icons that were widely respected shook the world. While many mourned this tragedy, the year started as if a normal sports year would start. As COVID-19 first appeared in the US in January, the Super Bowl would be the last big sporting event. After the Kansas City Chiefs won 31-20 against the San Francisco 49ers, the next month was followed with chaos. The Olympics, NFL, NBA, PGA, MLB, WWE, and most other sports suspended their operations indefinitely. Most of the United States was headed for quarantine, and these people were enraged having to go without sports at home for the months to come.
“Early this year, former NBA star Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash along with his daughter Gianna Bryant and others.”
Months later, after the summer spike, some sports started to figure out how to limit cases. One of the first sports to resume was the NBA. The way they kept players and staff safe was maintaining a bubble in Orlando. They rented a Disney hotel complex and tested player daily, along with limiting interactions outside the bubble. Although the ratings were not as high as expected, many people were just elated to see mainstream sports back. At the conclusion of the NBA bubble, the Los Angeles Lakers ended up winning the championship.
The NFL’s season proceeded on schedule, although all preseason games were cancelled. Most college football teams played an in-conference schedule, but some players had to push for months in order for their teams to play this season. Conferences in the NCAA like the ACC, SEC, and PAC-12 delayed the beginning of their seasons by about 3 weeks in order to reach a deal with a fixed scheduling basis. Some of the college games were unfortunately canceled for big teams like Ohio State and Oklahoma which made their season shorter than normal. The PGA and LPGA both resumed their schedules during the second half of 2020. The MLB revised its regular season from 182 games to just 60. With a good amount of games being postponed, the MLB decided to make a “playoff bubble” similar to the NBA. In San Diego the MLB World Series ended in the L.A Dodgers defeating the Tampa Bay Rays. The NHL agreed to resume their season in July, and have since held a playoff with the Tampa Bay Lightning as the league champions. Also following in the footsteps of the NBA bubble, the WNBA ended their season at IMG Academy, as the Seattle Storm were the victors.
As a whole, sports responded rather quickly to a worldwide pandemic. Junior Luke Bell thought highly of the response, stating, “I think the sports world responded with more unification and people understood how important things like that are.” Many people put aside their differences in a time of advocation for social justice along with the global pandemic to come together and enjoy sports. Hopefully this unification can continue into 2021.