COVID-19 has brought life to a screeching halt. From the NHL and NBA in the U.S. to leagues across the globe, sporting organizations have had no choice but to bring their seasons to a standstill, indefinitely. Despite the uncertainty of not knowing when play will resume, athletes around the world are still putting on shows for the masses.
The NBA is credited with being the first domino to fall as the league’s suspension of play prompted other organizations to postpone or suspend their seasons. While the 2019-20 NBA season is in a holding pattern, teams and players have found a creative workaround to giving fans their basketball fix.
On March 13, the Phoenix Suns announced on their official Twitter account that they would use NBA 2K20, a popular video game based on the NBA, to play out the rest of their season on Twitch, a video game streaming platform. Suns player Devin Booker, an avid Twitch streamer, has been holding streams where viewers have the option of donating to COVID-19 relief efforts to enter a raffle for memorabilia such as signed basketballs and jerseys.
In addition to the Suns organization, individual players like the Los Angeles Lakers’ Alex Caruso and the New Orleans Pelicans’ Josh Hart have used Twitch to stay connected with fans by playing popular titles such as Call of Duty: Warzone and FIFA 20. Even Luka Doncic, reigning NBA Rookie of the Year, asked on his Twitter, “Who can help me set up streams? What do I need?”
Aside from video games, athletes are finding other ways to keep themselves entertained. Soccer players such as FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Riqui Puig have gotten in on the “toilet paper challenge,” a challenge in which one has to keep a roll of toilet paper up in the air as they would a soccer ball.
On March 30, tennis great Roger Federer uploaded a trickshot video to his Twitter account. Despite snowy conditions, Federer found the prowess to hit in-between-the-legs “tweener” and behind-the-back shots. Within two hours of being uploaded, the video eclipsed two million views.
Athletes are not the only members of the sports world who are coming up with creative ways to pass the time. Several sports broadcasters have put their commentating skills to use and have lovingly shared these gifts with the world.
British rugby commentator Nick Heath has taken to Twitter to upload videos offering commentary on everything from dog walks to mothers pushing strollers through the park, an event which he so lovingly named “The 4×4 Pushchair Formation Final.”
In a stroke of genius, Boston Red Sox commentator Josh Lewin found a way to apply baseball jargon to a Toyota Camry turning out of a CVS parking lot. Even Joe Buck, one of baseball’s most notorious commentators, has gotten in on the fun by churning out narrations for chickens in a pen and professional golfer Justin Thomas’ morning routine.
Sports have commonly been heralded as a break from our daily lives, and when such relief is taken away, it might be difficult to keep our nerves at bay. But soon enough, we will be reunited with our favorite sports. In the meantime, athletes and broadcasters across the world are doing their best to put on a show in these turbulent times.