Life is a team sport.

Dave Mason

So here we are.

First it was the NBA. Now the NHL, MLB, MLS, the NCAA, the ACHA, USA Hockey, and many other sports organizations have either canceled seasons and tournaments or postponed play indefinitely. More will surely follow. That’s hard news to hear for the athletes and coaches who’ve put so much effort into their seasons. Parents and fans are naturally disappointed. It’s brutal for people who work in and around the sports and venues affected.

But right now, we’re not Sabres or Jets or Blackhawks or Kings, we’re human beings. 

Right now, we’re all on the same team, and our opponent is invisible. Our coaches are the world’s best epidemiologists and medical professionals. The global leaders in this serious game are in South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore, and they’re showing us all what it takes to win. 

We can complain about the current situation or we can pick ourselves up, take a look around at the people we love and cherish, and get on with conquering this new challenge. We all have an opportunity to demonstrate the kind of intangibles that coaches want to see in their athletes — the commitment and selflessness and common purpose that makes average players great and turns pretty good teams into champions.

Good teammates know how to work as individuals towards a common goal. They celebrate each other’s successes, and comfort each other when things don’t go so well. They know that performing at their personal best is what matters because it matters to everyone. Good teammates know what it means to be part of something that’s bigger than themselves.

Yes, my partners and I love sports. But we love our spouses and children and parents and grandparents more. We love our medically-challenged friends and siblings and cousins and co-workers more. And we know people all over the world feel the same about those they love. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask that we temporarily put aside a few of the things we live for so that others can live. It just seems like the right thing to do.

If we each do what we can to avoid exacerbating the problem — work from home, avoid gatherings, wash our hands — we can ‘flatten the curve’ and reduce the pressure on the other members of our team, the first responders, medical professionals, and care-givers whose roles will no doubt take on added importance in the next weeks and months.

Losing a chance to compete for a championship trophy is tough. Seeing kids and college seniors disappointed is hard. But we’re all living through history. And we’ve each got an opportunity to be a great teammate, and to accomplish something huge together.

So be informed. Be proactive. Be prudent. Be patient. Be thoughtful and considerate and kind.

Let’s win this one together, so we can all get back to competing against each other.

Game on.  


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