From the Sidelines: There’s something comforting about having sports in times like these

Bill Choy
Siskiyou Daily News
Bill Choy

It was a seemingly normal September Sunday for me as I watched the first week of NFL football games, while I kept one eye on my fantasy football teams.

There were a couple of huge differences. Almost all the stadiums were empty, with cardboard cutouts instead of real fans, and pumped in crowd noise being heard during the play-by-play call. 

While there were about 15,000 fans allowed at the Kansas City versus Houston game Thursday night in K.C., the stadiums were eerily empty due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

And, when I looked out my window, all I could see was a think smoky haze from the fires that have ravaged our region, including the Slater Fire down Happy Camp.

From almost anyone’s perspective, 2020 has been a contentious and challenging year for a number of reasons, seemingly piled up one after another.

In times like these, I’m glad, to a certain extent, that sports have endured despite challenges.

Of course, not for everyone.

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While there is some college football being played, many schools aren’t currently taking part, such as those in the Pac-12 and Big10.

In Siskiyou County, the football and soccer fields and gyms will be silent for the rest of this year, as there will be no high school sports until at least next year due to the pandemic. And, while athletes are training for the season at College of Siskiyous in Weed, they too will not be playing until next season due to COVID-19.

While this has been tough for our local athletes, I know they will overcome all of this and will be ready to play when the time comes.

When things are deemed safe, I can not wait to be out and about covering games. I do miss it, but understand why this has to take place.

Although things are different now, it is a bit of a comfort to turn on my television and be able to watch games.

While there are no real crowds to speak of for the most part, and players wearing masks during post-game press conferences, to have these athletes back playing the sport they love is something I have enjoyed tremendously.

My father-in-law is a die-hard L.A. Dodgers, L.A. Rams and L.A. Lakers fan. He’s  not able to get out much besides the occasional trips to the grocery store and the doctor.

Even during a hard day, his mood changes whenever his favorite teams are on. He puts on a Dodgers cap or Lakers jersey and loudly cheers them on.

It was a little bit rough when there were no sports besides old games on TV. Since they have returned, it has given him something to look forward to, which has been lovely to see.

Sure, it will take time, as truly, who knows how long really before things get back to “normal.” But, having social distancing sports, with many safety features in place, has been positive for many people.

I have enjoyed taking the time to watch sports I don’t normally watch, such as tennis. I really enjoyed the U.S. Open and the championship run of Naomi Osaka.

It’s been fun to see a team like the Miami Heat thrive in the NBA Bubble in Orlando and make it to the Eastern Conference Finals and I have enjoyed seeing MLB back again, despite my team not playing as well as I would like.

While it is not a perfect situation, I am glad sports are back again to a certain extent.

Stay safe everyone, as we get through this together as a community.

Sports Editor Bill Choy is always on the lookout for story ideas. If you have any, email him at