Are you ready for some football? Or, more accurately, any kind of sports? Most people are. More than ready, actually. Even if you’re not a sports fan, the idea of returning to something to grouse about preempting your preferred TV show will be a welcomed taste of normalcy in a world where that flavor is starting to slip from memory.
When it does come back – and NASCAR starts fan-less this weekend (if you consider that a sport) – it won’t be what you remember. The stands will be empty, the sounds gone. If you were inclined to think baseball boring already, just wait till the silence echoes off your living room walls in 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound.
To liven things up, just a bit, and to help with making these abnormal events seem a little more normal, I have a few humble suggestions for these events.
For baseball, maybe we replace the batboy with the Purell Boy. After each at bat, and during every timeout call, a designated kid runs out on the field to squirt some hand sanitizer for any player who wants it. The kid couldn’t get too close, so it would have to be loaded into a Super-Soaker squirt gun. The opportunities for sponsorships are endless and would help in the dispute over potential salary cuts for players.
While the spitball should remain illegal, the sanitizer ball could liven the game up. Remember “Ebby Calvin ‘Nuke’ LaLoosh” from Bull Durham? He was a promising pitcher with control problems. His occasional pegging of the mascot with pitches so wild they made batters nervous made the crowd go wild and the game more interesting. Now imagine trying to throw a curveball with your hand covered in slippery, slimy hand sanitizer? You know you’d tune in just for that.
With that sponsorship in mind, bring it to football too. Huddles are out, at least as we know them. So I propose a movable wall be rolled out between each play, like an old fashioned window blind, to cut across the whole field. Players could stay away from each other and, coupled with a white noise machine blasting, be able to talk loudly enough to be heard by their fellow teammates. If the NFL couldn’t sell ad space on that blind they should fold up shop now.
After each tackle, the people running out with the water bottles should be coupled with a second team that runs out with cans of Lysol, spraying down the players like a mini Silkwood shower. The checks write themselves.
Hockey players are already covered from head-to-toe, so strapping a small oxygen tank to their backs and sealing their helmets isn’t that big of a stretch. If some enterprising diving company doesn’t sign up to sponsor that one, they deserve to go out of business and everyone who works in marketing and corporate partnerships at the NHL needs to be fired.
Horseracing’s changes are easy – get rid of the jockeys. Put the horses in the gate, ring the bell, fling open the doors and let the horses do whatever it is they’re gonna do. The tracks are closed and round, either the horses run because that’s what they’re used to doing when the gates open, or they mill around and slowly make their way around the track. Either way, and eventually, they’ll cross the finish line. It’ll likely be more of an “oil painting finish” than a photo finish, but they’ll finish. Who wouldn’t watch just to hear how the announcers handle that call? “Little Froggy is way out in front, but now stopping to try to eat some of the infield grass. Broken Spirit is just kind of going in a circle, and Legendary Ego has soiled the track with an incredible pile of manure. We’re only 10 minutes into this Kentucky Derby and already it’s shaping up to be one for the record books!” I’d watch.
These ideas, naturally, will be seen as absurd, but they’re not really all that crazy (especially the horseracing one – would you really miss a little guy beating the horse?). The excitement that crowds bring to these games will be gone, something has to fill it. Or, since they can already project ads onto the fields/ice, why not just digitally put fans in the seats and pipe in crowd noise? Yes, it will be fake, but better a little fake than the “dead fish of reality smack across the face” of silence reminding everyone of the pandemic during something desperately needed to distract from the pandemic.
Either way, I welcome their return. We could all use a little normal, even if it’s a little abnormal.
Derek Hunter is the host of a free daily podcast (subscribe!), host of a daily radio show on WCBM in Maryland, and author of the book, Outrage, INC., which exposes how liberals use fear and hatred to manipulate the masses. Follow him on Twitter at @DerekAHunter.