Now that the United States heads into the second half of 2020, what are the most pressing issues that need to be addressed?
Clearly, the pandemic that jeopardizes the health of every American citizen is at the top of the list. Racial equality ranks near the top as well, as does the state of our economy. Unemployment has reached record highs, and the first pitch in Major League Baseball still hasn’t been thrown almost halfway into the summer.
Police brutality, hate crimes and academic cheating scandals are routinely in the headlines, and we still don’t know whether or not there will be a college football season this year, and fall is just around the corner.
Immigration, global warming, unemployment and not knowing whether or not an NBA champion will be crowned this year are all generating their fair share of speculation and debate.
All of this to ask one question: what is wrong with this picture?
Our country is on pace to lose a quarter of a million lives by the end of the year because of the coronavirus. At the same time, the majority of professional baseball players are upset at the prospect of taking a pay cut needed to offset the reduced revenue caused by an abbreviated season with fewer games. Remember, these are salaries that, if reduced by a quarter of a million dollars, would still amount to more money than most of us will earn in a lifetime.
In college football, more and more players every day are being diagnosed with the coronavirus. Yet the powers that be in college football are exploring every possible option (translation: examining every possible loophole and workaround with respect to the coronavirus) for kicking off the 2020 season on time.
And I have to ask: what, pray tell, makes the Commissioner of the National Basketball Association thinks anyone in America not named LeBron James gives a rat’s a** who wins the championship in a league that hasn’t played a game since the middle of March? As time goes on, more and more professional basketball players are proclaiming it’s not worth the risk (of coronavirus) to return to the court. At least not until the coast is clear, and the way things are heading, that won’t be any time soon.
The world of sports is holding onto false hope. Allegedly there will still be – at this time, anyway – the U.S. Open in tennis in a couple of months. There will be the U.S. Open in golf in September and the Masters in November. The Kentucky Derby is scheduled for September; at least for now. The Peachtree Road Race, traditionally held on the 4th of July, has been postponed until Thanksgiving.
However, there won’t be any Summer Olympics this year. The British Open and the New York City Marathon have already been cancelled. It’s encouraging that there are some people in the world of sports that, quite simply, get it.
Baseball, football and basketball; they’re all nice to have but, as has been demonstrated over the past four months, life can go on without them.
As for health, racial equality, respect — both for and by the police, gainful employment and liberty and justice for all, there’s a pretty strong case to suggest that life can’t go on without any of them.
Hoping against hope that we might see a day game in Wrigley Field, Auburn and Alabama playing in the Iron Bowl or LeBron James kissing the Larry O’Brien Trophy is nothing more than a pipe dream at this point.
At this stage in the game, if you’re still expecting the world of sports to return to its regular programming, you haven’t stopped to read the writing on the wall.
In other words, you’ve still got at least 12 months to train for the Peachtree Road Race that – if things work out favorably – will return on the 4th of July.
The 4th of July, 2021 — 12 months from now.
I apologize if I had to be the one to tell you the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.
Scott Ludwig lives, runs and writes in Senoia. His latest book, “Southern Charm” is a collection of his first 101 columns for The Newnan Times-Herald. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .