As things stand just over five months into 2020, life in America has been turned nearly upside down. Any other year, the masses would be breaking out of their homes, starting their days earlier, and enjoying games as baseball turns to its peak of the season. In Cleveland especially, attendance at Progressive Field steadily climbs once the month of June begins, officially kicking off the summer. This year is unique, however, in that Americans don’t have the reliable entertainment of sports to lean on.
The government’s response to Covid-19 stopped sports dead in its tracks. Major League Baseball is currently in the process of returning back to action, although the chances of that actually happening feel insignificant. The NBA was left without a postseason. The NFL has the best shot at playing a full season of football, at the moment. Alarmists will predictably stand atop a pedestal and lecture to sports fans: “public health is more important than entertainment,” which is undoubtedly true. However, is sports really just “entertainment?”
Looking at the space that sports occupies in America, the answer is no. In truth, sports is a great pressure valve. Families and friends go out to games, enjoy each other’s company, socialize, and take their minds off of the problems of the world for a couple hours. It’s a method of easing tension. Society’s pressure valves don’t just include sports either. Theaters, concerts, parks, festivals, bars, restaurants, gyms, and even churches are all vehicles that Americans use to release stress, and therefore, peacefully interact with one another. Political, religious, and racial differences seem to dissipate in these environments.
These pressure valves were suddenly taken away from people, when law abiding citizens were turned into criminals for opening up their barbershops, enjoying lunch with friends, or taking their kids to the playground. The tragic result is an entire population of pent up, stressed, and scared subjects. Examining the psychological warfare waged on the people, it’s not difficult to see why riots are erupting across major cities in America. After all, the people have been forcefully separated from each other, isolated, and left to do nothing except watch TV news for hours on end, which only builds fear and resentment of others.
Even the cancelling of youth sports, which is unconscionable given the statistics, contributes to this angry spirit. Kids need to participate in activities, sports being arguably the most popular of them all. The entire spring season was ended without reason, lest children encounter any possible risks or danger in the outside world.
The explosion of violence taking place goes way beyond the unjust actions of one police officer. They are the culmination of stressful months filled with irrational fear that’s gripped the entire nation, so much that people are weary of coming within six feet of each other. Sports, among other elements, is critical to bringing people of all walks of life together. Sensible precautions should be taken, of course. However, it’s about time games return to action. It’s about time people start interacting with people again. It’s about time this nation breaks out of its three month prison and starts healing itself.