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At least we have some sports, sort of

I typically don’t talk much about sports…for a variety of reasons.

However, we are starting to see a few bright spots this year, and one of those is that several professional sports are returning, or already in the midst of their seasons.

NASCAR has been on the tracks for a while now, running multiple races per week in an effort to complete the majority of its schedule.

The National Hockey League has started some of its pre-season practices, and Major League Baseball is now underway. The National Football League is making preparations for the possibility of its season.

There’s a good bit of excitement, but also apprehension as the athletes take to their various fields of play.

It’s going to be a different year for sports fans, as with everything else. Most professional leagues are moving ahead with plans for limited or no fan attendance, which means losses in revenue for the team as well as the vendors and others who rely on thousands of people crowding into stadiums, arenas and racetracks.

Pittsburgh had a chance to be home to two Major League Baseball teams this year, as news came out in the last few days that the Toronto Blue Jays could be playing its home games at PNC Park. That thought was quickly quashed as Pennsylvania’s health board announced Canada’s team would not be permitted.

I’m not a Blue Jays fan, but it would have been a tremendous opportunity for our area had they been able to play in Pittsburgh. Toronto has a huge fanbase, and while it’s doubtful any of them would have been able to come to the Steel City for a game, the broadcasts would have opened the door for possible tourism options.

In addition, there were several ideas for temporary Blue Jays logos, which means merchandising possibilities. I’m sure there are many enterprising small businesses in the region which would have loved to develop some products.

At the same time, I can understand the concern. Currently, most travel between the U.S. and Canada is not allowed. Business trips are among the few exceptions, but I’m sure there are still some a little hesitant to allow anyone from outside the area to come here for any reason.

That brings us to college and high school sports. Those areas are still up in the air at the moment. Each state is looking at things differently. There are some college conferences planning for limited schedules, while others have decided to move their fall sports to the spring.

What do you do for high school teams which play multi-state schedules? West Virginia could handle sports one way, while Ohio will take a different path, and Pennsylvania do something completely different.

This hasn’t been an easy year for many of us, and while we are trying to find a way back to our previously “normal” lifestyles, there are still going to be adjustments made. Ultimately, this viral pandemic is going to be hanging over our heads (metaphorically, for the most part) for quite some time. Precautions are going to be taken, which are not going to necessarily be comfortable. It’s going to continue to have an effect on what we can and cannot do.

While we probably won’t be able to purchase tickets to go watch our favorite teams in person for quite some time, at the very least we will have an opportunity to watch some of them on television.

It might not be what we want, but at least it’s something.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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