SIDELINES: this week in sports

Photo Credit: Alex Korolkoff on Unsplash

Photo Credit: Alex Korolkoff on Unsplash

There’s nothing super fun to talk about when it comes to professional sports. The Leafs lost all three of their California games, the Raptors are still dealing with injuries and Spring Training is just getting under way for the Jays.

So let’s talk about the coronavirus. The IIHF has cancelled the women’s world championships in Halifax to prevent the spread. As of right now the men’s tournament will take place but that could change at any time. The NHL has adopted new policies, including some teams banning members of the media from the locker rooms.

The Colorado Avalanche opted to keep their room open but posted a sign that read, “Reminders: no handshakes, no knuckles, no high fives, no sitting at the stalls, no hugs.” Whatever will beat reporters do without their post-game-press-conference-bro-hug from Nate MacKinnon, the injustice. The horror.

In all seriousness though, the coronavirus (COVID-19 if we’re pretending to be med-sci students) is something that leagues are going to have to come up with a plan for. No offense to the athletes that I know, but you guys are pretty gross. We’ve seen it before with how fast the flu can spread through a team. If one intern at MLSE sneezes on a Monday, the Leafs, Raptors and TFC are pretty much screwed by Friday.

It’s a possibility that teams might have to play in front of empty stands by the end of the season. This prompted LeBron to say that he wouldn’t play if no one was watching him. I’m sure having fans in the arena changes the atmosphere, but has anyone told him about TV? Maybe we can all skype into the games like a professor who refuses to cancel class when he gets the flu.

In other news, it was International Women’s day and as a woman, I’m actually contractually obligated to talk about it.

It was sweet seeing male athletes post Instagram stories about the women in their lives who inspire them. Some of the Knicks showed up to their game rocking WNBA t-shirts which was a welcome sight.

Both Sportsnet and NBC made history with all women broadcast teams. Not only was the on-camera talent female, the entire behind the scenes crew was too. It was a great gesture from both networks and I thoroughly enjoyed Leah Hextall’s play-by-play. Christine Simpson always does a phenomenal job and Cassie Campbell-Pascall is always a treat to listen to when she does colour commentary for the Flames broadcast. All of these women work in hockey full time but they rarely get the chance to work together.

Of course, behind every successful woman in sports, there is a man standing behind her, demanding that she makes him a sandwich. I made the terrible mistake of reading the comments on twitter and it was … not great.

I saw one guy say that he didn’t want to listen to a woman calling a sports game because he, “already has to listen to his wife all day.” Go to couples counselling man, don’t take your issues out in the comments section.

My twitter timeline was full of eggs saying that it was gimmicky and they hated it, and sure. By definition it was kind of a gimmick, but every single woman at NBC and Sportsnet worked incredibly hard to earn their position. They also did a damn good job. I’d take Leah Hextall over Jack Edwards any day of the week.

It was a cool thing to see. It was weird to hear since I’m so used to mostly male broadcast teams, but I hope one day we’re at a point where it doesn’t feel strange to see two women doing commentary together. I hope it happens more often than just on international women’s day. And I hope dudes learn how to make their own sandwiches by then.

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