For months now, the more cynical have suggested the lock downs will continue into the fall, as the hysteria has become something of a religion. The facts on the ground are useful to the panic party in so far as they can be used to support the idea that this plague is a curse sent from nature because of Trump. They hope the self-inflicted suffering will purge the lands of orange come November. Word now comes that they plan to cancel college football this week.
There’s no public health reason for cancelling college sports this fall or for keeping the kids of campus, which many colleges are doing. Many colleges will be on-line only this fall, meaning it will be a full year of virtual learning for their students. It was not that long ago when these very same colleges said on-line learning was terrible. Students needed personal interaction with their teachers and fellow students. Like so much that comes from the Left, that was true only while it was useful.
As far as college football, the plan was to minimize attendance at the games and make sure the players were tested on a daily basis. The only thing missing from the regime was daily dips into vats of hand sanitizer. Despite it all, the people who run big time college sports have been bullied into shutting down. This should put to rest that the people behind this stuff are motivated by money or power. They are tossing away billions and their grip on millions of people’s attention.
Sport has always been a window into what lies behind the general culture. In this case, the plight of sport reflects what is happening in society as a whole. The efforts to restart professional baseball, basketball and hockey have been a disaster, because the stripped-down versions lack essential ingredients. Like everything else about a big complicated society, sport evolved over time to work a certain way. Rebooting it without essential elements like a live audience does not work.
The people running the NBA and NHL are a reflection of the people running the country as a whole. They have the problem all outsiders have, in that they see the parts of society and can navigate through them, but they can’t see the invisible bonds that hold those parts in relation to one another. Their scheme to restart their respective sports made sense to them on paper, but to the rest of us it is like trying to impose the metric system or soccer. It’s alien and weird.
There’s also the social aspect to the popularity of sports. Football became the dominant sport because it is the best television sport. It was the one thing people could talk about at the office with no problems. It’s why so many companies encouraged their people to sport the colors of the hometown team on casual Friday. The popularity of sports like football had as much to do with their place in the social fabric as their popularity as an entertainment product. Big time sports fill a social niche.
The people in charge predicted people were suffering from a form of phantom limb syndrome and that the return of any sports would be a success. Instead, baseball, basketball and hockey are not drawing much interest. People moved on in the short time those sports were off the air. Football will most likely face the same fate if it goes dark this autumn. Sports passion is like a fire. It requires constant tending and fuel in order to keep burning. Once it goes out, it stays out.
What’s happening with sports also puts to bed the notion that the people in charge are playing 4-D chess in order to maintain their power. Keeping white people locked into sports watching was always about crowd control. Nowhere is egalitarianism and anti-racism sold harder to more white people than at a sporting event. It is the one place where multiculturalism appears to work. Take that away and normal white people are left to watch white radicals and black activists riot in the cities.
What lies ahead for sports entertainment, maybe all big-time entertainment, is what small business is facing right now. Every business has a cost structure that reflects its revenue stream. Seasonal business has seasonable const structures. Small business has low cost structures. Global sport has a cost structure that requires millions to spend billions every year. Suddenly, owning a big fancy sports arena is not such a great idea in a world where large gatherings are prohibited.
There is a general assumption that the Covid stuff comes to an end with either the defeat of Trump in November or one final tantrum in January if he wins. At that point, the practical reality of life will force this charade to come to an end. That’s true, most likely, for this phase of the process. Economic necessity will force the people in charge to relent or civil unrest will force it. Unless this is really a simulation and the base code has been altered, this cannot continue much longer.
That’s just the end of this phase. The breaking of the sports entertainment model will have far reaching consequences. Tens of millions of people will fill in the gaps left by tailgates, trips to the alma mater, weekend parties glued to the television and billions spent on sports entertainment. All of a sudden, the sort of liberal guy you used to talk to about the football team is not a guy you talk to at all. Instead of talking to the conservative guy about sports, you talk about other stuff.
Even the most basic human societies are a highly complex web of interpersonal relationships that operate within a hard to define thing we call culture. A big diverse country like America has a degree of complexity that we cannot comprehend, other than to have the wisdom to accept that reality. The people in charge have thrown sand in all the gears of the machinery, machinery that has allowed them to rise to the top of the social hierarchy. Sports will soon be the least of their problems.
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