by JD Leader
Who could have ever predicted the day where the sporting world stood still?
A world without sports is becoming the new norm for sport enthusiasts. Fans in the Tampa Bay area are trying to grow accustomed to this new lifestyle due to the impact of the coronavirus.
“This has been very challenging on me,” said Jordan Baum, sales executive for Eastern Bag and Paper. “Work has been nonstop for me lately and I have always used watching sports games and ESPN as my outlet.”
This March has not been the month for sports due to the cancellation of Spring Training, NCAA March Madness, PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship, and other events such as WrestleMania.
“Being an avid sports fan my whole life my buddies and I always looked forward to March Madness and making our brackets. But the tradition has come to an end in 2020,” said Baum.
Not to mention the NHL, MLB, and NBA seasons have also been pushed back until further notice. As for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football season is it far too early to tell what the outcome will be.
“I’m keeping myself busy by working from home in order to keep my mind off sports,” said Vinny Thela, senior business major at The University of Tampa. “Sometimes I will sit on my couch and just stare at the blank screen television, not knowing what to watch.”
These various sporting events also bring in a lot of revenue to Tampa Bay. The Tampa Bay Times estimate that these sporting events cancellations may cost the Tampa economy upwards of $300 million in the upcoming months.
Not only has this virus affected the sports world, but also it has been detrimental to the economy, claiming jobs from over 3.3 million Americans thus far. Many of these victims have been hourly workers from stadiums, arenas, and other sporting venues. According to National Public Radio (NPR), nearly one in five households have lost work due to this pandemic.
Although it has not been great news for Tampa sports fans recently, there is something to look forward to around the corner.
The Tampa Bay Bucs have a new face of their franchise, six-time superbowl champion, Tom Brady. Many around the National Football League (NFL) consider Brady the GOAT, or greatest player of all time. He elected to bring his talents to the Tampa Bay area to bring a new spark to the Tampa Bay offense, with the goal of leading them to their first Super Bowl since 2003.
“I can’t believe it. I cannot wait to watch Brady walk on the field for the first time wearing that bright red Bucs uniform. Then it will hit me. Then it will feel real,” said Buccaneers fan Jim Bayless. “With all this news about the virus taking over the media, Tampa fans need something to look forward too. They need something to cheer for. Brady is giving the Tampa Bay community hope.”
When Brady signed his contract back on Friday, March 20, he only had one request. He did not want a new private jet nor a flashy new house, and not even control of the Tampa Bay offense. Sources from NBC Sports claim all he desired was every single one of his new teammates’ phone numbers so he could get in contact with them.
In a world that is bigger than sports the Tampa Bay community must come together, lift each other up, and push through these difficult times. No one is in this alone; everyone is being forced to adjust his or her daily routine. Unfortunately, it will continue to be this way until the weight of the virus is lifted, until we can all sit around a television, a stadium, or a field, watching sports together once again.
JD Leader can be reached at email@example.com