Health Official Says Sports Unlikely to Return Before Thanksgiving

Ray Ratto
April 09, 2020 - 11:47 am

In what can only be considered a blow to Mike Gundy, the NFL, Dana White and the entire sports biodome industry, a medical expert just laid out the likelihood that the doors will be closed until Thanksgiving. And there goes all those dreams about finishing 2020 without breaching 2021.

Dr. Jeffrey Smith, Santa Clara County's executive officer, told the county's board of supervisors earlier this week -- in a story first reported by Rong-Gong Lin II in the Los Angeles Times -- that he did not expect that it would be safe for “any sports games until at least Thanksgiving, and we’d be lucky to have them by Thanksgiving. This is not something that’s going to be easy to do.”

That, on top of Dr. Anthony Fauci's projection in an interview with CBS as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases that it would be unlikely for COVID-19 to be completely eradicated and that the disease could become seasonal.

In other words, the scientists are doubling down on the notion that sports and their almighty schedules are not the master here, no matter who has what deadline and bank payment to make. That seems to include in Santa Clara County alone the 49ers of the NFL, Stanford and San Jose State of college sports, the Sharks of the NHL, and high school and youth sports throughout the nine-county. And that's in just one county that at least has made a small dent in its coronavirus arc.

See, that's the thing. Sports are not individual fiefdoms, as Gundy, the Oklahoma State football coach who said he wanted to use his players as human shields against the illness for the sake of the economy, seems to believe. They are interlocking ecosystems that rely upon each other, and until the virus is severely depleted by vaccines, hospital availability and devotion to quarantines, Santa Clara's problem is Alameda County's problem is Los Angeles' problem is Dallas' problem is Atlanta's problem, multiplied by South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, where its Rugby League just announced a tentative resumption date of May 28 largely because it is in financial peril.

In short, this is reverse domino sculptures on a global scale. No league is an island, despite what Gundy and White and the leadership of the Belarus and Nicaraguan soccer federations might believe.

Still, the fact that the projection came from Santa Clara County hit home here because it is home. The 49ers' draft picks at 13 and 31 seem to be just that much less important if whomever those picks are can still be rookies in 2021, and the NFL's schedule release next month is just one more reminder of the old Yiddish proverb, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans."

Only with nothing else going on, plans are all we have so there's no harm in making them, as long as they are written out in pencil, or on an Etch-A-Sketch, or with a mass-delete function, where they can be easily erased. Plans are just desperate hopes, and Dr. Jeffrey Smith is just as necessary as plans because he has his own desperate hope.

That sports will understand its real place in this as an itch on the hindquarters of a very mean dog that needs muzzling more than petting.

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