Playing To Empty Stands: Sport Games Become Special During Pandemic

I love playing sports games, full stop. Madden, NCAA games, NBA, MLB, NHL, FIFA and even TopSpin Tennis, I love playing them all. During this pandemic I feel like us sports fans have been grateful for some normalcy through our games. Playing a season without “bubble tournaments” or worrying about players opting out, it provides relief to the sports fans who have had a turbulent year.

Now that my beloved Columbus Blue Jackets have been removed from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, I can do what any normal fan would do…

Play NHL Hitz 2003 and knock people through the glass to get some cathartic enjoyment. Or getting into a fist fight and knocking out an opposing winger, because someone has to pay.

For NFL fans it is still up in the air if the season will actually start this year. If football gets cancelled this year, I don’t know what I will do on Sunday since I can’t yell obscenities at my TV. I have been thinking about how sports games, now more than ever, have the ability to hold us over. Normally, these games just get us through the off-season. Now they are getting us through the fact there may not be a season.

Right now MLS resumed their season and the results have been mixed. It feels like at any time they are going to call the season off again because teams like FC Dallas and Nashville SC had major spikes in cases. It seems like every week another player is either opting out of the season or contracts COVID-19.

Even with sports returning in a limited capacity, something has just felt off about the season. Part of me has actually wanted eSports such as Call of Duty to be on sports channels just so I have something competitive to watch and bet on. And so I can hide from the local loan shark who wants to give me an unplanned knee replacement with a Louisville Slugger.

I’m curious and would love to hear from readers what sports games are getting them through the pandemic. For me it has been FIFA 18 since the game I want to play (NHL) is not on the Switch. How is the current sports situation affecting you? I know this is a short Skirmisher column this week and I am sorry about that. I have just been going through some withdrawals and watching the Blue Jackets play games with no crowd and no cannon was just strange. I think I may be slipping into a no-sports depression.

Please share some of your favorite sports game moments in the comment section, so us sports gamers can have some great stories to get us by this week. Until next time, stay safe and remember… don’t be afraid to shoulder check someone who really, really deserves it.

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