Finding a silver lining after COVID-19 cancels sports seasons


George Samra, Sports Editor

“Well you only need the light when it’s burning low

Only miss the sun when it starts to snow…

Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low

Only hate the road when you’re missing home” 

These lyrics from the Passenger song Let Her Go are about losing someone that you love, but they also express how I am feeling about sports during the COVID-19 shutdown. 

I feel incredibly privileged to be the sports editor for this paper because I absolutely love sports and sports journalism. Much too often, the time that I maybe should be focused on homework, doing chores, or actually exercising is spent on a myriad of sports websites from big sites like ESPN or CBS Sports, to smaller blogs like SB Nation and Uni Watch. Sports are a nice background to life. Never the most important thing, but it gives me a chance to escape from the pressures of the real world while reading another article on the Lebron versus Michael Jordan debate. That’s why it was and still is, so jarring when everything stopped. 

Amazingly, only a little over a month ago as I’m writing this, on March 11, I read the news that the NBA season had been suspended. This was still the stage where we had 2 or 3 cases in Michigan and at least for me, the problems caused by the virus still hadn’t really hit home yet. However, by the time school was finished that Thursday (which feels forever ago), almost every major sporting competition in the world had been suspended or canceled. March Madness had been played through World War II, Vietnam, and every other threat to the tournament since 1938. The night that Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981, Indiana and North Carolina played the national championship game. But the coronavirus hit and suddenly it was all gone.

It felt surreal. Suddenly, the light that was a gentle background and a nice escape from the pressures of life was turned off. For a lot of seniors here at East, their last chance to play together was taken away. Our boys’ swim team had already traveled an hour and a half towards Oakland and the state finals when it got canceled and they had to turn the bus around. We will never know if all the early morning practices would have paid off with a state championship. Our girls’ basketball team won the district and was doing well in regionals. Perhaps they could have made a run for the championship title. Then there are all of the teams who never even got the chance to get to know one another or play at all, save a solitary week of practice. The track seniors who never got to run one last race, the lacrosse seniors who will never score another goal, the girls’ soccer seniors who will never score one last goal. As a sophomore, it hurts, and I still have two years left. I can’t imagine the pain for seniors who had it all taken away.

While it’s obvious this had to be done for the health of the players, coaches, officials, and spectators, it seems so surreal.  If there is a silver lining to all of the pain caused by the coronavirus, then, at least in the sports world, it is the realization that the games that we all love to watch and the heroes we love to cheer for can take a backseat to the true heroes, the men, and women who risk their lives with this coronavirus, but also risk them every day when they show up to work. Another silver lining may be the simple realization that sports are not about numbers in the wins and losses columns. This virus can help us to realize that sports are about the community built, either with a team while playing, or with other fans while watching.

And when sports returns, players may be rusty and the quality of play may be slightly down, but I think we will appreciate the simple ability to have sports again. Until then, it is important to remember to thank the true heroes of this tragedy that we are all working through and remember that sports can be more than just the final score.