How to navigate quarantine without sports

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Photo Credit: @nba2k

Samantha Unger

Over the last month, students have found creative ways to occupy the extensive free time that is not consumed by assignments or virtual classes. For those who rely on televised sports for entertainment, however, it has become increasingly difficult to participate in normal pre-pandemic activities. While a number of suspensions and cancellations have rendered live sports unavailable, fans can turn to other methods of distraction to keep themselves connected to their favorite games.

After the NBA released a statement announcing an indefinite suspension of the season, and with no plans to return to the court anytime soon, the NBA and ESPN partnered up to prepare an official e-sports tournament on NBA 2K. The tournament premiered April 3 on ESPN and features an all-star lineup of players including Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell and DeMarcus Cousins. The final game will be held on April 11 and the winner will choose a charity to receive a $100,000 donation on behalf of 2K, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association to support COVID-19 relief efforts.

Additionally, several basketball players have been streaming NBA 2K matches on Twitch, a live streaming video platform. If online gaming isn’t your thing, you can head to YouTube or turn on the TV to find reruns of old games when you’re missing the sound of squeaky sneakers on the court.

“Right now, I’m relying on reruns of older basketball games on TV to keep me occupied,” said University freshman Marly Gourley.

You might not get “Drake on the sidelines” content and Kawhi Leonard memes, but it is still possible to engage with your favorite team and players while practicing responsible social distancing.

Following the NBA’s decision, the MLB announced it would also suspend its season indefinitely two weeks before the first series of Opening Day games. While fans await the return of baseball amid speculation of holding games in Spring Training facilities or abroad, there are a few alternatives to enjoy America’s national pastime.

Sports networks like Fox Sports and ESPN (or SNY and The YES Network for our tri-state readers) air reruns and highlights of past games and are a helpful resource to stay informed on how the pandemic is affecting sports.

On social media, team and personal player accounts have been interacting with fans and regularly posting content to stay engaged. If you’re more of a sports film fanatic, however, there are plenty of baseball movies to stream instead— “Major League,” “42,” “The Natural,” and “A League of Their Own,” to name a few.

Other organizations like Major League Soccer and international leagues soon followed suit in suspending seasons and tournaments; while the UEFA Champions League tournament is suspended until further notice, the UEFA Euro 2020 and Copa América 2020 were postponed until summer of next year.

In light of the extra free time, soccer teams and players alike have ramped up their social media presence. F.C. Barcelona, for example, has been posting highlights and interactive quizzes to their Twitter accounts, while some players have inspired trends like the toilet paper juggling challenge to ease their boredom and get fans to participate alongside them. Other players have taken to live streaming on Instagram, like Christian Pulisic on the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team. Often inviting other players into his stream, you can join to hear him talk about his experience playing for Chelsea and rank the best Girl Scout cookies.

You can also play FIFA matches on gaming consoles alone (or with friends) to hear some comforting commentary and play as your favorite athletes. If you’d rather watch instead, players from around the world have been live streaming FIFA 20 matches on Twitch and YouTube with the hashtag #stayandplay.

Despite being a university in lower Manhattan with a limited number of athletic spaces, you’re likely to find a large population of sports fans on campus, most of whom are undoubtedly disappointed by these cancellations and suspensions. While hours on gaming platforms or Netflix partying baseball movies with your friends might not be enough to fill the void of live sports, there are plenty of ways to continue enjoying sports responsibly from home; the better we are at keeping our distance and practicing healthy behaviors, the closer we are to seeing the return of sports.