Sports Eye

Disruptive COVID-19

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.

THERE are not much to talk about sports activities during these days. The panic and threat among us earthmen caused by the dreaded world virus called “COVID-19” put a stop to the sporting world because it can strike anybody with no exception. Who would have thought that among the country’s first victims are celebrities? As of this writing, March 19, Sen. Miguel Zubiri and actor Christopher “Boyet” de Leon were among the first to be infected, while the first world well-known leader caught by this dreaded disease was Canadian Prime Minister Justin Pierre James Trudeau.

“Expect the unexpected,” as the saying goes even as some pundits were mistaken to believe that athletes could be exempted because they are physically fit. How wrong they were because athletes like NBA’s superstar Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets and his three of his teammates, Utah Jazz colleagues Rudy Gobert and Mitchel Donovan, and Christian Wood of Detroit Pistons were not spared. They are now in isolation. Reports say these celebrities were not aware how they contracted the virus but observers believe they acquired it by shaking hands with their fans as they are usually widely exposed during their games and training.  Or they got infected by close friends and acquaintances.

Organizers of the sporting events who initially ignored the COVID-19 scare, finally suspended also all their games like the MPBL, UAAP and PSL women’s volleyball, PBA D-League Aspirants Cup and the latest which was the five-day PRURIDE PH bikathon scheduled on March 11-15 at Clark and Subic, to name a few.

COVID-19 also hit home. It disrupted the four cycling events in the province that I was supposed to direct, namely: DOH National Friendship Games to be hosted by Dagupan City and Lingayen slated last March 11, the First Lingayen Bagoong Cycling Festival scheduled last March 15, the Mapandan Bikefest 2020 today, March 22, and the biggest of them all was the much-awaited and the richest Pangasinan cycling event of the year, the four-day First Governor’s Cup Tour ed Pangasinan of Gov. Amado “Pogi” Espino III on April 28-May 1 (as one of the highlights of the annual Pista’y Dayat). Fortunately, all the organizers of these events told this writer that their events are not cancelled but simply postponed indefinitely until the COVID-19 crisis is over. They will still be staged and played, I was told.

I thank them for their assurance and hopefully this catastrophic global invisible enemy will soon be gone, hopefully before the rainy season. But if the contagion of COVID-19 still continues during the wet season, I have no choice but to call off these cycling events myself. I, more than anyone, know that cycling races on wet roads will surely lead to multiple spills on curves that will cause serious injuries not only to the cyclists but to fans along the routes, particularly at the finish line.  Without a doubt, accidents will occur that will hurt not only speeding cyclists and but the race escorts, too. I’ve seen these happen during my competitive cycling days and also as an organizer and director of 248  races of this two-wheeled event since March 14, 1974.  To God be the glory.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: And said, “If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.” EXODUS 15: 26.

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