You could sense the frustration from WVU basketball player Jalen Bridges in four tweeted words.
“I just wanna hoop,” he wrote on Twitter.
Beneath the words were a summation of the most recent news regarding the Mountaineer athletic department.
In case you missed it, WVU has postponed the start of men’s basketball workouts for 14 days on the heels of the most recent Covid-19 test results.
Which weren’t good.
Five members of Coach Bob Huggins’ team and one staff member tested positive for the virus. Those positive will enter a self-isolation period for 14 days. Contact tracing procedures identified additional individuals who could have been exposed. Those found through the process within the athletic department will have to self-quarantine as well.
So, Mountaineer athletic director Shane Lyons and Huggins hit the pause button until July 20. It was the right call. It probably was the only call.
Leading us to more frustrating skepticism.
Covid-19 numbers continue to climb around the country. Even here in West Virginia, the numbers have gone up. On Monday, Gov. Jim Justice called for all to wear face coverings.
The question is, with no play book to go by in regard to sports, how will all this work? More pointedly, does it have a chance at working?
We’ve seen pro golfing and racing working OK. Yet one has to worry about the team sports. Even the NBA’s plan – perhaps the most well-though out and viable – may come up short.
“[It’s] never ‘full steam no matter what,’” NBA commissioner Adam Silver told Time magazine. “One thing we’re learning about this virus is that much is unpredictable.”
Ditto young athletes.
I mean, you can try a la the “bubble models” of the NBA, Major League Soccer and NHL. But will all players abide by the rules? Also, are they less or more apt to contract the virus in a bubble?
Then there’s the NFL. And, of great concern in the Mountain State, college athletics.
Consider a football player in Morgantown. Perhaps he initially tests negative. Yet what happens when he leaves WVU’s facility?
It’s just so gut-wrenching.
Will there be games? Yes. Will there be fans? Perhaps some, but not to the extent of the past. And isn’t half the experience for the fans?
So frustrating. The world’s best infectious disease experts haven’t solved the virus pandemic. The United States isn’t doing well controlling Covid-19.
Yet we need normalcy. Sports are part of normalcy. But there are so many questions. For instance, should all involved in a sport be given test after test when many cities don’t have enough for people who desperately need them?
Hopefully, you can feel my frustration. I ask the questions because I so love sports. There are logistical questions. There are questions involving morality.
Yet all I wanna do is watch Jalen Bridges hoop.
+ + +
Mitch Vingle covered sports in West Virginia for 38 years. Follow Mitch on Twitter at @MitchVingle and be sure to check out the rest of Wheelhouse Creative’s website for your marketing and advertising needs. If interested, call us at 304-905-6005.