Rather than March Madness resulting in the creation of brackets and eagerly taking in a game or two after work and on the weekend, the madness seems to be in the dash for the last roll of toilet paper or the trying to find your favorite brand of canned soup. The whole world is in a tizzy, and with good reason. Protecting the community, and ultimately the globe, from the coronavirus is a wise move. However, the closing of the leagues has impacted a lot of people. In many ways, the closing and the aftermath may create an equal amount of stress when compared to the risk contracting COVID-19.
In response to the pandemic, sports leagues across the nation took swift action to do their part to reduce transmission between players, fans, spectators, employees, and any other person that would be at risk in a large gathering. Here is a brief overview of what’s going on.
- The NBA season is suspended indefinitely, though play will have a minimum suspension of 30 days.
- The MLB has suspended spring training indefinitely and delayed the opening of the regular season for several months.
- The NFL will start as planned and continue with the draft, but public events have been canceled. The annual meeting has also been canceled.
- The NHL has sent home players and put the season on hold.
- The MLS/Soccer is on hold indefinitely.
- The NCAA has canceled both men’s and women’s tournaments.
The View From the Bench
Without your favorite athletes to follow or having exciting games to watch, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and feel a sense of loss. Over the years, studies have documented that sports fans can suffer from psychological and physical consequences when there is a heightened sense of dependence on their favorite team or sport of happiness. Studies reveal that excessive watching of sports or having to miss a favorite game can lead to reckless driving, elevated blood pressure, and heart attacks. The stress of watching sports can lead to nervous habits such as hair tugging or pulling, but stress can also impact dietary habits. Overeating and consuming amounts of saturated fats are associated with excessive sports interests and game watching. Conversely, not having sporting events or games to watch can have a similar impact on sports enthusiasts.
What to Do on the Sidelines
You might feel like your world has been shattered with the loss of league activities. Depending on your interest in rising stars, the draft, the championship, or how much money you have wagered, you could be struggling with deep anxiety or frustration. Severe and sudden changes to lifestyle and routine can bring about higher levels of stress. If you leave your stress levels unmanaged or resolved, it can lead to issues with hair loss, digestive problems, heart conditions, and relationship complications. Rather than stressing out and wondering what to do, here are some things that you can help you pass the time until your games are on again.
- Take your family outside for your own sporting events. Exercise and activity are great ways to stay both healthy and entertained. Increasing your activity levels also helps release endorphins, which work to lower your stress response.
- Have a movie night where you stream and watch some of the best sporting films of all time. Since you have plenty of time at home for the next few weeks, you could start the “Rocky” series. It will get your heart rate going, but you will also be inspired to keep on going. After all, Rocky Balboa is one of the most inspiring characters of all time.
- Perfect your appetizer game. If you are the one that generally would host friends and families to watch the games, you now have some time to get a new menu ready for the next season. You can skip traditional chicken wings or nachos and craft something bold and tasty. There are cooking segments all over television or YouTube, but you can also find lots of easy recipes on places like Pinterest.
- Work on your own fitness. Even though your favorite sports star isn’t playing a game, you can bet he or she hasn’t gone soft on their workout routine. While there are national precautions and instructions over heading to the gym, you can have a successful workout in your living room or backyard. It will be good for your stress levels and for your energy levels. Who knows, you may become so fit and active during this season that you try out for a community league next season.
March has become strange to many sports enthusiasts, with the closings of major sports leagues and the cancellation of the NCAA basketball tournament. However, you don’t have to succumb to the madness.
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