I was really looking forward to seeing the U.S. Olympic softball team play.
The U.S. was all set to face the nationally-ranked University of Washington on Thursday at Husky Softball Stadium as part of the Stand Beside Her Tour as it prepares for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. I was excited to see former Husky Ali Aguilar manning shortstop for the national team. And I was eagerly anticipating how Washington’s Snohomish County products — Snohomish High School graduate Sami Reynolds and Meadowdale High School alum Emma Helm — would fare against a pitching legend like Cat Osterman.
Unfortunately, the game was canceled as part of the precautions being taken to slow the spread of coronavirus, just one of an unending list of sporting events that have fallen victim to COVID-19.
While I was disappointed I missed out on my chance to see the world’s greatest softball players in person, I understood the reasons why the game was canceled, and I accept the fact the measure was taken with the greater societal good in mind.
That seems to be the consensus among readers in their reactions to sports being shut down.
After Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s Wednesday morning press conference announcing the prohibition on public gatherings of more than 250 people in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties, which effectively brought sports to a halt in the Puget Sound region through at least the end of March and probably beyond, I took to Twitter to ask people: “What’s your reaction to this?”
I ended up getting a massive response, at least by my standards. A total of 30 posts from 25 different accounts were part of the thread, and I thought I’d share the public’s sentiments.
Bear in mind, Inslee was the first governor in the country to institute these type of measures, so this was uncharted territory for all of us. And just about all of these responses came on Wednesday, prior to the steady cascade of professional leagues, college conferences and leagues at every level suspending their seasons.
Of the 25 accounts that responded, 13 expressed support for the measures being taken, despite the loss of sports. A good example came from @UmbrelLumen (Paul Bradbury): “Public health is more important than sports. People’s lives are more important than money. Period. With as little reliable information as we’re receiving from the authorities we should be relying on, caution seems wise.”
Public health is more important than sports. People's lives are more important than money. Period.
With as little reliable information as we're receiving from the authorities we should be relying on, caution seems wise.
— Paul Bradbury (@UmbrelLumen) March 11, 2020
The user @DLDAlisa (DD) concurred, with one eye toward what’s happening around the world: “Social isolation to slow the spread of the virus so we can continue to handle the acute care caseloads is good. Really don’t want a situation as is being reported in Italy where the medical system is so overwhelmed and having to choose who gets the ventilator.”
Social isolation to slow the spread of the virus so we can continue to handle the acute care caseloads is good. Really don't want a situation as is being reported in Italy where the medical system is overwhelmed and having to choose who gets the ventilator.
— DD✍️ (@DLDAlisa) March 11, 2020
Not everyone was supportive. There were three accounts that came out against the measures, and all three of those responses were brief. The user @gu482a (Rod Stever) provided the wordiest of them: “Crazy over reacting!!”
Crazy over reacting!!
— Ron Stever (@gu482a) March 11, 2020
Two of the accounts expressed conflicted feelings, such as this one from @Jarhova (Jarhova): “I’m not sure how to feel. I respect the local teams that have posted statements to their fans. On the flip side, I have an 8-year-old hockey player that has a tournament in Spokane that is still on. Where does the line get drawn? College events cancelled, high school maybe?”
I’m not sure how to feel. I respect the local teams that have posted statements to their fans. On the flip side, I have an 8 year old hockey player that has a tournament in Spokane that is still on. Where does a line get drawn? College events cancelled, high school maybe?
— Jarhova (@Jarhova) March 11, 2020
Another two accounts took the television angle, indicating they were happy enough to watch sports on television rather than attend events in person, such as @sunnybabybunny (nu pogodi): “I always enjoyed the games more on TV anyway. You can see the players’ faces.”
I always enjoyed the games more on TV anyway. You can see the players' faces
— nu pogodi 🧼🖐🏼🧼 (@sunnybabybunny) March 11, 2020
Then there were the five responses that didn’t apply a value judgment to the situation, but instead used the opportunity to speak about something tangential, which is what @Greg22Haigh (Greg Haigh), who has the Boston Red Sox logo as an avatar, did: “Don’t care … yet. Sox come to town in April so an extension would hurt.”
Don't care…yet. Sox come to town in April so an extension would hurt.
— Greg Haigh (@Greg22Haigh) March 11, 2020
But there was one response in particular that generated a large number of “likes” from fellow users, and that came from @MulcaheyPatrick (Patrick Mulcahey): “My Reaction: We in Washington state have a great governor.”
My reaction: We in Washington state have a great governor.
— Patrick Mulcahey (@MulcaheyPatrick) March 11, 2020
It seems the verdict is clear. The shutdown of the sports world may be disappointing, and there’s no doubt that a lot of us, myself included, are going to suffer from a major case of sports withdrawal. But there are things that matter more and people are willing to sacrifice sports — for the time being, at least — in favor of the greater good.
Follow Nick Patterson on Twitter at @NickHPatterson.