The sports world took a screeching halt on March 12. The NBA announced a stoppage to their 2019-2020 season after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the COVID-19. Gobert’s positive test sent the sports world into an already evolving situation that has people hunkered down in their homes.
In addition, the National Hockey League ceased operations and put their season on hold after the NBA announcement as well. After the NHL, the MLB postponed their season, leaving sports fans in search of a new sports fix.
I am here to try to make the most of what we have. This includes finding other ways for sports fans to entertain themselves in the absence of professional sports, such as keeping up on standings, stats and other strange occurrences in the sports world.
Here are some suggestions to sports fans on how to get their sports entertainment fix during these challenging times.
Jon Bois “Pretty Good” and “Chart Party” from SB Nation
Jon Bois is a long time sports historian on the internet, making content for the YouTube channel SB Nation. His perspective on sports is very different from the average sports fan. I don’t believe that there is another content creator like him on the entire internet. He made an in-depth, two-part, 94-minute documentary on athletes with the name Bob.
Bois describes the situations in sports in such a way that he can explain the complex situations to a person who knows nothing about the game.
The series “Pretty Good” is, in Jon Bois’ words in the thumbnail of the series, “a series about stories that are pretty good,” especially the videos on Lonnie Smith, a professional baseball player in the 1980s who in Bois’ opinion, “was the third most interesting athlete from the 1980s only behind Bo Jackson and Mike Tyson.”
“Pretty Good” is a series for any sports or non-sports fan to enjoy, with information from a historical aspect, entertainment, a unique style of presentation and commentary and some humor to make it more personable. I recommend it to anyone in need of a new perspective on stories that are pretty good.
The story is intended for mature audiences. It has the mentioning of drugs, alcohol, violent language and potential violence told through suspense, drama, heartbreak and triumph.
There are also some personal favorites and classics such as 222-0, the story of the highest-scoring college football game of all time, or the time where the DeVry University basketball team lost to Troy University in 1992 by a score of 258-141.
Jelle’s Marble Runs
I know what you’re saying, “Marble Racing? Who would ever watch that?” Believe me here, once you get into watching the events of the “Marbleympics” summer and winter events, you find yourself getting invested in marbles.
Though the marble racing events are entertaining in and of themselves, the commentary from Greg Woods is what makes the events much better. Woods gives the marbles personalities and comes up with backstories to inanimate objects, with a random chance of success or failure.
In reality, that’s all it is, random chance. When I first started watching the marble runs, I didn’t understand the concept, but I found myself watching more. It drew me in with the soothing sight of marbles going down a plastic track.
With the intricacies of the marbles going down a track, competing head to head with each other in events, you get invested for certain teams/marbles, portraying an actual sporting event with storylines and other pieces of drama that you would find out by watching.
If you want sports with no chance of injuries, excitement, drama and laughter at some points, Jelle’s Marble Runs are for you.
Keeping social distancing in mind, NASCAR thought of an idea to continue car racing in a new capacity.
With realistic technology, along with not being able to do races in person, the company decided to put the drivers in the virtual world to duke it out.
The first race aired on FOX networks and brought in over 900,000 viewers, according to FoxSports.com. With that kind of crowd for their test run, FOX announced that it will do a full invitational-series of old racers and newcomers, along with up-and-coming prospects in the NASCAR scene.
NASCAR is adapting to the challenging times in a way that no other sport really can. It’s not the same effect as if the popular sports franchise NBA 2K did the rest of the season virtually, because the players can’t control the ratings that they get, the preparations, emotions and everything that goes into a team sport.
Racing, on the other hand, is different in this way. With the hit simulation racing game “iRacing” being the most accurate representation of racing, it still takes the driver’s skill, car control, strategy and experience of what to do in order to get a competitive advantage.
Another positive for the drivers is that there is essentially no chance for an injury, unless you count straining your eyes from looking at the screen for too long.
FOX will air the “iRacing” series on their main FOX channel, along with their sibling channel FS1 for the remainder of the NASCAR season, which usually ends in late August.
If this works, is virtual racing the future, a side competition or a flash in the pan? Only time will tell, but one thing is for certain: there is a skill-based sport that is available for fans to enjoy.
I believe people have realized how big of a part of pop-culture sports plays with the stoppages due to COVID-19. Watching games with friends, by yourself, checking standings and stats — I miss it.
These are serious times, but providing an outlet for an escape from reality is worth it, even if you forget about it for 94 minutes learning about athletes named Bob.