SGN – Sports Edition | April 21st, 2020
As we all continue to hold down the fort, here are some positive thoughts and moments from the sports world to get us through
Many of us are continuing to do our part, practicing social distancing and making sacrifices to ensure we flatten the curve and limit the damage of COVID-19 to the extent possible.
During this quarantine, it has been difficult to not be overwhelmed by the constant updates of turmoil throughout the globe. Best.Day.Ever. salutes the healthcare workers and other first responders across many essential industries that stand in the face of adversity and keep the world moving forward.
A few content creators have delivered heart-warming updates and articles to remind us that not all is lost right now. Most notably, John Krasinski, star actor from the celebrated tv sitcom The Office, launched the Some Good News Network on YouTube, where he recaps various user-submitted videos and stories to bring us together.
We take our inspiration from John (thanks, John!) and bring you today, Some Good News – Sports Edition. This freshly installed weekly blog post will bring you new initiatives, league plans, and special posts that we hope provide encouragement when you need it most.
For those of us that are missing sports, hopefully we won’t have to wait much longer to see our favorite teams on TV. At this point, empty stadiums and shortened seasons are almost a guarantee, but close your eyes for a moment and envision; your favorite baseball team running out of the dugout to a freshly cut field, it’s July 4th, you and your family are having a cookout, and all (for a moment) is right in the world…
Rumors have been substantiated for an MLB season to be played without fans in the Arizona desert. The idea would involve players bunked up in hotel rooms across the state where already half of the teams hold their Spring training games. The NYTimes reports that this plan – currently in serious consideration — would require some 3,000 people from players, club staff, umpires, and broadcasters to be tested with regularity. But hey, it means baseball could be back soon!
Meanwhile, the NBA and their Players Association have been collaborating on efforts to bring rapid, accessible testing to their operations in hopes that they can resume play and finish the playoffs in a self-contained location – potentially in Las Vegas.
The PGA Tour has also made an announcement – we are getting golf again! Starting on June 8th with the rescheduled Charles Schwab Challenge. While many of us have turned to golf as one of the few permitted outdoor activities we can participate in, it will be good to have the pros show us how “easy” this game is again.
And America’s most popular league, the NFL, has kept fans afloat during this time with news around their free agency and upcoming draft. Many teams, including the partners Best.Day.Ever. works with daily, are offering virtual draft parties and other remote engagement tactics, that offer community connection when it is needed most. The NFL has not made changes to their schedule, leaving a sense of optimism that all will return to normal before opening weekend.
Perhaps the most anticipated sports event during the past month of isolation has been the NFL Draft. In-sync with its’ virtual setting, the NFL has launched a “Draft-a-Thon” as a fundraising campaign aimed at the COVID-19 relief efforts. The event will be live streamed on NFL social and digital platforms, and feature live coverage on ABC, ESPN, NFL Network and ESPN Deportes April 23rd through the 25th. It will feature NFL Network hosts Rich Eisen and Deion Sanders along with celebrities Kevin Hart, Quavo, Ninja, and others. To date the NFL family has raised over $50 million in COVID-19 relief – but this will surely increase that number.
Fanatics has launched the All-In Challenge to provide food to those in need, including many of our frontline first responders. The initiative encompasses over 70 sweepstakes and more than 90 auction items and experiences, as well as additional donation options. One of the marquee events includes the opportunity to run a lemonade stand with actors Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman.
Mark Cuban, also part of the All-In Challenge, is raising money for philanthropic organizations Meals on Wheels, Feeding America, World Central Kitchen, and No Kid Hungry by raffling off a One-Day Contract to Play with the Dallas Mavericks. The package includes travel with the team, a customized game jersey, a seat on the bench, and participation in layup lines, among other perks. Click here to get in on the action!
USA Today provided an in-depth look into six former professional athletes turned medical professionals fighting the good fight on the front lines against COVID-19. A huge shout out to Marshal Leonard (MLS – now NYC-area physician); Mark Hamilton (MLB – now beginning his residency at an ICU in Long Island); Myron Rolle (NFL – now in his third year as a neurosurgery resident at Mass General); Nate Hughes (NFL – now in his first year as a resident at the University of Mississippi Medical Center); Hayley Wickenheiser (Olympian – now med student at the University of Calgary and assisting in gathering medical equipment for doctors); and Randy Gregg (NHL – now a family physician in Edmonton).
Count the Los Angeles Angels as one of the professional teams doing the right thing and taking care of their own. The baseball club has issued payments totaling about $1.2 million to more than 1,800 game-day employees unable to work during the pandemic.
Duke University Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski went on a livestream last Friday with a local food bank manager, only to then surprise him with a donation of $225,000. Watch it happen here.
Charlotte Hornets forward Bismack Biyombo is doing his part for his native Democratic Republic of Congo despite being quarantined in the United States. He has donated $1 million worth of medical supplies to hospitals and clinics. The country in Central Africa reported less than 300 confirmed cases as of last week’s end, hopefully indicating that these donated supplies will be impactful in flattening their curve.
That’s it for this run! Be sure to check back same time next week for more features, stories, and updates that fill the current sports void in our lives.