COVID-19 Shutdown: How Families Are Surviving in a World Without Sports

Death, sickness, unemployment, depression…these are all serious consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. And while nothing else compares to these factors, there are also plenty of secondary consequences. For many families, a lack of sports is a big deal.

Kissing Sports Goodbye

The coronavirus pandemic has shut down just about every aspect of society over the past few weeks – including professional sports.

According to research from sports marketing agency Two Circles, only 53 percent of this year’s sporting events that were originally on the calendar will actually take place. More specifically, projections forecast that just 26,424 of the 48,800 events previously scheduled will take place. (This only accounts for events with a projected attendance of more than 5,000.)

“Compared to most other industries, in recent times of economic adversity sports has proven to be recession-resilient,” Two Circles CEO Gareth Balch says. “Whilst live sports is halted, every corner of the sports industry will continue to feel this significant financial pain, but we are certain that it returns, whether that’s behind-closed-doors or with full houses, sports’ economy will thrive once again.”

Many sports-loving families are also left wondering when organized youth sports will return. Unfortunately, these projections aren’t quite clear.

It’s highly unlikely that we’ll see team sports return this summer – and perhaps not even this year. There are simply too many variables in play. While professional sporting events can afford rapid testing (when it’s available) and present a TV product without fans in the seats, amateur athletics face a bigger disadvantage. And until testing is more readily available to the masses and vaccines can be administered, many parents will be hesitant to sign their children up.

Coping Without Sports

In the grand scheme of things, the inability to play organized sports or watch them on TV might seem small. But for a family that lives and breathes sports on a daily basis, it can be rough.

In fact, it’s these changes in rhythm and routine that have many attorneys predicting a rise in divorce cases during and immediately after the coronavirus epidemic.

Whether it’s a lack of sports, changes in work schedules, or the prospect of spending every minute of every day together, family law attorneys are encouraging families to be diligent in how they handle sensitive situations. As Jimeno & Gray, P.A. points out, “Family law decisions based on emotion can be destructive for your financial well-being, as well as for future relationships.”

If sports are a big part of how your family operates and functions, learning to cope is key. Here are some suggestions:

  • Get the Right Perspective

It’s important to remember this won’t last forever. While it seems like we’ve been without sports for ages, it’s only been a few weeks. And if we’re lucky, it won’t last much longer. By keeping things in perspective, you’ll find it easier to make it through this drought.

  • Binge Classic Sporting Events

Flip through the sports channels on your cable TV menu or streaming service and you’ll notice that channels like ESPN, Fox Sports, and the NFL Network are still showing sporting events. The only difference is that they aren’t live.

If you have kids, this is a great time to expose them to classic games and sporting events from the past. Whether it’s Muhammed Ali’s definitive KO of George Foreman at the Rumble in the Jungle or “The Catch” from Joe Montana to Dwight Clark in the 1982 NFL playoffs, there are classic moments just waiting to be binged!

  • Create Your Own Competitions

Why not create your own competitions at home? Whether it’s “trashcan basketball” or “garage roller hockey,” there are plenty of ways to unleash your family’s competitive spirit in a safe, confined context.

  • Read Some of These Books

If you’re one of those people who always says you’re going to read more, but never actually does, now’s your chance! There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to read one or two books per week. But where to start?

Some of the highest-rated sports books of all time include: Friday Night Lights, Ball Four, Open, Money Ball, Among the Thugs, and Paper Lion. Those should keep you busy for quite a while.

Making the Most Out of Quarantine

This period of quarantine and self-isolation won’t last forever. It might seem long and insufferable at the moment, but we’ll eventually move beyond this season of life and enter back into normalcy. And when we finally do reemerge, you’ll be forced to answer one simple question: How did you spend your time?