A lot of people have been talking about the “big changes” that are coming in sport thanks to Covid 19. With phrases like “the end of the sporting handshake”; the death of contact sports and how locker rooms are going to become decontamination rooms to keep things clean. As someone who grew up playing rugby in South Africa during the 90s when HIV was at its highest, and for someone who played rugby through bird flu and swine flu let me say… things won’t change that much.
Covid 19 is without a doubt one of the worst viruses to hit the world. To deny that would be ridiculous if for no other reason than I am writing this on a Tuesday afternoon, sat in my pyjamas after three months of being locked inside and not seeing anyone. And there are going to be changes that will be put in place to protect athletes and spectators. But these changes are going to be in the background, effective and subtle. Anything else, will not last long. Because what happens when “restrictions” get in the way of sport fanatics having fun? They’re just conveniently forgotten.
Instead, what we will see are precautionary measures to keep people safe that will for the most part go unnoticed by the spectators. None of the Sportsider editorial team are specialists in either medicine or epidemiology and neither are we really qualified to give predictions. Rather, these are merely our thoughts on what may happen.
TESTING AND ISOLATION MAY BECOME A THING FOR ATHLETES
If we look at rugby for example. If we took away the bleeding faces, muddied shirts, ripped ears, sweat and bone crushing impacts from the game, what would we be left with? That’s right. Football. And no rugby fan is going to allow that. So, to guarantee that athletes who are on the field are not carrying any viruses perhaps isolation and quarantines may become part of their training regime.
For example, the strict training regimes of the players could be amended to allow a two week isolation period prior to the final stretch of their pre-game training followed by team quarantine prior to the game. So that when they hit the field not only are they totally clean but hopefully feral, foaming at the mouth and running on all fours!!
STADIUMS COULD BE MISTIFIED?
We may as well accept that instead of the stale beer and old hotdog smell of stadiums that we’ve all come to love, from now on they’ll probably have a new scent ranging from lemon fresh to sheep dip. Professional cleaning of stadiums is going to become very, very big business but how do you keep potential transmission of viruses to a minimum?
Social distancing in stadiums is tricky, and sure people can be asked to wear masks but considering that occasionally people get crushed to death in stadiums, you can’t expect them to care that much when they get excited. However, some stadiums may erect misting sprays in the rafters that drops a mist of disinfectant upon the actual crowds. This mist can also be scented and used during music festivals to not only sanitise but deodorize everyone.
One of the most 1984esque suggestions from our editorial team was that the various tracking apps that will spring into existence following the NHS app, will eventually synchronise with the likes of Facebook and with booking applications for public functions like sports. If you’ve crossed paths with someone who’s been affected and are expected to self-isolate, you may find that when you try to book your ticket for your football match that you’re not allowed to.
Big Brother is watching.
MANDATORY TESTING AND TRACING FOR PUBLIC EVENTS
Maybe not as technically savvy as the previous one. But it stands to reason that people will need to provide some sort of testing proof to be able to go to public events like sporting or music events. On booking websites this could be included in the T&Cs that none of us have ever really taken the time to read and could say that as far as we know we’ve been testing negative. From a legal standpoint our response and conduct to protecting ourselves and everyone else will become paramount.
NINJA MASKS WILL COME INTO FASHION
This idea is pretty cool. Face masks needn’t be terrifying and surgical and for fighting games like boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai and wrestling, we could expect a range of very cool heavy duty face masks that cover the nose and mouth to come into play. Allowing fighters to do what they do best without hindrance and being able to look like Mortal Kombat fighters at the same time.
Of course, once we get a treatment for the virus, or if we all do what we’re meant to and the virus is eradicated by itself, the above may just be the ramblings of a number of remote ewriters dreaming of sporting days.
But I do hope the ninja thing happens. Get over here!!