Like industries, sports adapting to new normal
By Joel B. Belinan
Human beings are hard to stop. They adjust or adapt according to situations. That’s why some extreme environmental activists considers humans as the most destructive of all creations and also the most prolific. And definitely the global pandemic won’t be able to hold humans much longer. As early as April, we already heard the term new normal. Thus many aspects of our way of life changed in just a matter of three or four months.
Indeed we have adapted in so many ways on how we live. Some are welcome like the emphasis on personal hygiene (washing of hands etc.). But other things like wearing of masks and physical distancing (social distancing) proved to be inconvenient to many. These however are changes needed to be adopted if only to avoid unnecessary infections or, worse, loss of lives. And so doing business as we have known it have changed overnight. Online marketing that according to experts only caters to around 10% of people n the US and other advanced countries and around 2% in countries like ours is now fast growing and is like a mushroom that matures overnight or a bamboo shoot that can reach several feet in a matter of days. Indeed, the internet is becoming a very important tool of every human being.
Meetings, conferences and, yes, even those supposed graduations and recognitions events are now being done using new technology through the internet. And, yes, sports are now adjusting to the situation. Already UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) showed the way in a tournament behind closed doors and of course without the actual presence of the fans. UFC 249 bannered by Tony Ferguson and Justine Gaethze for the “Interim Lightweight Belt” was held on May 9, 2020 in Florida USA. Accordingly, UFC’s CEO Dana White presented a long list of precautionary measures to authorities to get their approval of the event. Among these are, only the athletes/fighters with their coaches and just the needed team mates were allowed inside the arena. Aside from that, officiating/technical officials, and other needed personnel to run the event which only totaled 150 people were the only ones allowed inside the 15,000 capacity arena. The event was shown in various media platforms like Pay Per view and live streaming.
Take note that One Championship actually was the first to hold a tournament behind closed doors which they did in Shanghai China albeit a minor one for MMA and kickboxing. One Championship is set to resume its big event on July 31 in Bangkok, Thailand. In Europe, professional football leagues are gearing for the re-start of their season disrupted for four months. Training centers of various football teams are already busy with players training to be back in shape. The National Basketball Association (NBA) will be opening its next season on July 31 while the season of various premier baseball leagues in the US are also about to open. Closer to home, South Korea’s professional Baseball League had already started their season as early as last June.
Here in Igorotlandia, organizing a local tourney is always a missionary work and with the current state of our country, it will take some time before we could see the return of those left and right events. Doc John Cay-ohen who was able to conduct the inaugural event for his Fearless Combat Championship last march 8, said that once authorities will allow sports gatherings, he will definitely re-start. Of which, I said, we will be behind you. Alas I observed that Burnham Park these past few weeks saw a big increase of fitness goers, joggers, walkers, zumba and taebo dancers. While 21 year olds and below are not supposed to be allowed, I saw quite a few. In the outskirts where I run more often, more and more youngsters are hitting the ground which is better than them also going to Burnham Park and add to the crowd. **
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