How Does The Suspension of Sports Leagues and Gym Closures Affect Us?

COVID-19 is a terrible situation. While many people may get annoyed by the sports fanatics that are complaining about their sports teams being shut down, for those that love them, it is devastating.

Millions of people around the country depend on their sports teams to come into their living room and provide them with a sense of community. Fans simply do not know what to do with their time now. They feel like they have nothing to look forward to.

Take Me Out To the Ball Game

The love of organized sports is deeply ingrained in American culture. People gather together all the time to spend a day at the ballfield in the spring and summer. Wintertime means football and more great gatherings.

Arm chair quarterbacks and critics have lost their ability to enjoy the distraction of organized sports. Going to your favorite pub to commiserate with friends about which player you would trade if in charge, is no longer a possibility. It is a depressing time for everyone.

For sports fans sporting events are the way they keep their anxiety in check. It gives them something to look forward to, so even on the worst days if they know their favorite team is playing it helps to get them through the day.

The fact is no matter how hard it is to deal with, for the safety of everyone, sports teams had to call a suspension. Hospitals across the country are bursting at the seams with newly admitted patients because of COVID-19. Sports no matter how important they are to the fans had to take a back seat to this deadly virus.

Sports Are Only A Part of the Story

Of course, we know that it is not just sports fans that are feeling that gut punch. Events of all kinds have been canceled. Concerts, plays, movie theaters, graduation ceremonies, weddings, airlines are shuttered, you name it, it is on hold. There is no doubt that life has changed for every person in the United States.

Another fallout from the COVID-19 is group fitness classes have been canceled. One of the recommendations that all experts make is to exercise away the stress, but for many people, not having a gym to go to (they are all closed too) means that they are stuck with the stress.

Just like the baseball fan that has nothing to watch, those fans of workout classes are also wondering how they can fill up their time. People that normally live full active lives are struggling now with conditions like insomnia from the heightened stress and the lack of burning up that physical energy.

Empathy and Understanding is Key

When they first announced that the NCAA Tournament would play without fans in the stand there was an uproar as to how awful that would be. When the tournament officials decided to end the tournament altogether, the roar got even louder. Right before the college tournament was canceled, the NBA announced they were suspending the season.

NHL, MLB, and other major league organizations have all suspended play for the season. There are a couple of things to consider when you feel yourself getting angry about this interruption:

  • Suspended the season is to protect the players and the fans from the COVID-19 virus.
  • Most players do not want to play to an empty stadium, they are there for the fans.
  • This is not forever, it is for right now, your teams will be back before you know it.

While your family may not be directly affected by the Coronavirus, there are many, many families that are. This is a highly contagious disease that is unforgiving. Suspending the seasons of your favorite team helps to protect the players, coaches, and of course, the fans.

There are many people that are sick, hospitalized, and that have lost loved ones to this disease. It was necessary to stop people from gathering, and coming into close contact with each other. Of course, it was also necessary to close down the gyms for the same reasons.

This is a pandemic that is affecting everybody in one way or another. If everyone comes together and does their part and tries to stay positive, then we can all get through it, and get back to life.

Mental Health Effects

Whether you are a sports fanatic that is feeling like you are in mourning for the lost seasons or you are devoted to making that trek to the gym a few times a week, COVID-19 is likely taking a toll on your mental health. There are so many emotions to deal with like:

  • Fear of the unknown. Some of the concerns that people are expressing include “ How long will it take before life can get back to normal? Is my family at risk of getting sick? Will the restrictions become even more stringent?”
  • Financial worries. The fact is that COVID-19 is affecting every person’s bottom line. Over 3 million people lost their job so far from this pandemic, and unfortunately, it looks like many more will before it is over. Financial worries during this time top the list of things to worry about for most Americans.
  • New family dynamics. More families are having to get to know each other again. Mom, dad and the kids are all home. This can be an overwhelming time for everyone. Routines are greatly disrupted, and finding something for everyone to do can feel nearly impossible.

All of the above combined with the inability to do what you love best to do can really take a toll on your mental health, but you can find ways to keep up a positive outlook. Routine is one of the best ways to reestablish you and your family’s new normal.

Keeping a Routine

Have you run out of Netflix binges yet? Once you have, it is time to get up off the couch and start creating a new routine. If you have children it is important that you get them back into a routine. Life will resume sometime in the near future, and you want to be sure that everyone is able to get back to it.

Here are a few tips for setting up a new routine:

  • Set your alarm every day. It can get very easy to get used to sleeping in, but the reward of sleeping in on the weekend will not be as sweet if you do it all week long. Get the kids on a schedule.
  • Set up screen times for you and the kids. It can be easy to fall into the rabbit hole that the internet is. Don’t let it happen. Set screen times for you and the kids.
  • Eat meals at set times to avoid grazing. It is important that you keep to a schedule with meals. It can be tempting to pick up some bad habits while you are under a stay at home order.

Establishing a new routine while you are stuck at home will make it easier to transition into your old routine when this all comes to an end. It is healthier for you and it is healthier for your children.

How Can You Still Stay Connected to the Things You Love To Do?

Adjusting to the “new normal” can be a challenge but there are ways to work around things. It is very important that you take care of your emotional well-being. Staying on track with eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise right at home is important.

There are plenty of online instructional videos for everything from Yoga to strength training. A few national chain gym groups are also offering at-home workouts for anyone (you do not need to be a member).

Of course, if you are starting an at-home training plan, be sure you take it easy, the local emergency clinics are not the place you want to have to visit. Don’t overdo it with the home training at first. The goal is to continue with a routine and to stay healthy not to hurt yourself.

For the Sports Fanatic

It is understandably miserable not being able to cheer on your favorite team. Certainly missing the friends and family members that share your enthusiasm is a big part of the issues. While you may not be able to head out and be a part of the commanderies in the stands, you can still find ways to bring everyone together.

ESPN and other sports stations have been running some of the classic games. You can have a virtual get together by inviting friends and family members to watch some of the classics together. Face time, Skype, Alexa, Google Home, and other devices can be used to link everyone up. While it is not the best way to get your team fix, it is better than nothing.

Making the best of a bad situation can take a little creativity, but in cases like the COVID-19 pandemic, it really is the little things that matter most. You can make the best out of staying stuck at home.

Here are a few other things you can do while you are waiting for your season to start:

  • Get involved in sports chat groups online.
  • Trade sports memorabilia online.
  • Get involved in some online sporting games.

The virtual world is a great place to meet people that are into the same sports as you. There are Facebook pages that are dedicated to teams and other social media channels where people converge to talk about their favorite sports.

Love your team? Consider trading memorabilia online. There is always someone selling something or looking to trade. You can shore up your collection and likely find some great deals.

Play some video games. There are a lot of games online that can keep you busy playing your favorite team members. Do play games in moderation, they can become really addictive and raise your anxiety a bit.

What If You Are Not Only a Fan But You Are On a Team?

A lot of people that are dealing with the loss of sports are not only fans but they are on a team. Whether it is a local soccer league, softball team, or neighborhood flag football team, you are going to be on the bench for a while.

What can you do to make sure you do not lose your edge? Keep training. The sport is going to eventually pick back up. Staying on a training schedule I a great way to ensure that you are in shape to play when things kick off again.

Create a Sense of Community

Whether working out at the gym is your thing or watching sports, you can create a sense of community to help ease the pain of not being an actual participant. Keep in touch with the people that you spent time with at the gym or the people you played or attended sporting events with.

Keeping in touch and keeping the channels of communication open can help you to find the encouragement you need to get through this pandemic and you, in turn, can be the bright spot in someone’s day. Make plans for the future with “your people”.

The days of returning to your daily workouts or looking forward to a weekend full of games to watch may seem far off but it is right around the corner. Be the person that keeps your community together, so everyone will be ready to jump right back in.

Acceptance is Healing

You have two choices. You can continue to feel like salmon swimming upstream and complaining about closures and shutdowns of all events, or you can get on board with the idea that it is what it is. This situation is out of your control but that does not mean you cannot make the best of it.

Accepting the situation for what it is and adapting is the best way to get through it and move forward. Before you know it, pitchers and catchers will be back on the field, the gyms will be open for business, and life will return to normal.

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