As a sports fan, I was devastated a year ago when the NCAA announced it would not hold its famous March Madness tournament. Sporting events came to a halt entirely, and the NBA was forced to go to Disney World and basically hand the Lakers a championship. For months sports fans around the world have been forced to sit on their couches and watch the game on television, but we would almost all much rather be at the venue.
The night of the Super Bowl, one of the most highly anticipated sporting events in the world, a 31-year-old Florida man took to the field in an apparent attempt to be the center of attention. Reports have stated he was there to publicize for some adult website, but to name them would only be giving them the publicity they desire. I remember laughing when I saw the fan running across my screen, I knew the internet would have a blast. However, shortly after I started to think that he might be used as an example that fans are not capable of behaving rationally if we were to be let back into sporting events. There are millions of people around the world who would have loved to sit in that guy’s seat and simply enjoy the game. Any other year the streaker would have been nothing short of hilarious. However, after seeing the response to COVID-19, this streaker makes me fearful that people in positions of power will use him as proof that fans are not an essential part of a sporting event.
We have seen numerous instances of fans treating athletes as if they are not humans with real emotions. NBA fans in Salt Lake City have been caught using racial slurs towards the athletes they are there to watch. There have been countless fights in arenas all over the world, yet there has never been a precedent for removing the fans from the sporting events. Once COVID-19 introduced a rationale for barring fans from stadiums and arenas, the powers that be began to wield the ability to punish the masses for the actions of the few. Our government has behaved as if they are autocrats. Sports have always been a release for the public, and elected officials have done their best to suck the fun out of everything.
There are a few areas in the country where fans can watch live sporting events, but what is the timeline for fans everywhere to enjoy the game with a crowd of passionate peers? I hope it happens soon, we can not continue to run away from life as we once knew it.
I feel for all of the fans around the world patiently waiting for their chance to cheer on their favorite players and teams amongst a community of like minded individuals. Sporting events have long served as a source of community for many of us around the world, and it seems there is no argument to be made in favor of returning to what we once knew as normal. This is the United States of America. Tailgating, food, beer and friends are what make sporting events worthwhile. Unfortunately, this is also where streakers go wild and elected politicians act like all-knowing dictators. There is a melting pot of opinions in this country, and no one is right.
I am well aware that my opinion of the streaker changed within moments and I am mostly being judgmental of someone with more guts than I. My hope is simply that he did not somehow ruin it for the rest of us.