SAN DIEGO — After months of not having any live sports, this Sunday there were events in six professional leagues. The NBA, NHL, MLB, WNBA, PGA, and NASCAR all broadcast their sport with no fans in attendance.
But even with no crowds of in-person fans, having sports backs means getting back another comfort from the times before the coronavirus pandemic.
“When I think about it, it’s almost like if somebody took the birds away.”
Sports psychologist Dr. Michael Lardon believes that sports are a part of the fabric of American culture. When something we all enjoy but might have taken for granted goes away, we’re left with a hole that can’t be filled.
“We all sit and watch sports. It’s in the background. It’s always there,” he said. “Suddenly with the COVID, all sports are gone and there’s this weird silence.”
Though sports today will no doubt look and feel different with screaming fans replaced with cardboard cutouts, at least we can still watch them on television.
Sports bars like the High Dive on Morena Boulevard, usually jam-packed on gamedays, have moved patrons outside to watch games from carefully spaced tables.
“It’s not quite the same as going to the game with a bunch of people," said baseball fan Monica Garcia.
Other fans like Carlos Moreno were cautiously optimistic about sports returning.
“I’m OK with it right now," he said. "I’m still scared that things are going to get shut down.”
There’s a real possibility of that happening for baseball, but there’s plenty of other live sporting events for us to watch moving forward. It may be different than what we’re used to, but having sports on TV again is a small step for making us feel normal in a world that’s anything but.
“Even without fans in the stands we still feel the sports as very compelling,” said Dr. Lardon “That really tells us how deep our attachment is.”