It’s big, it’s round, it’s fixed to the ground
By john loeppky, ethan butterfield, tyler meadows | editor-in-chief, a and c editor, sports editor
- How has your life changed with the absence of sports?
EB: Usually I’m really getting into hockey at this point, so the absence of hockey has left a void that I’ve had to fill with bettering myself and going on walks. It’s just the worst.
TM: The biggest change is just watching Lakers games every other day and not being able to read about sports daily as well. Watching Lakers games specifically at night has been something I have done for 20 years, so it’s weird not having that game to take a break from everything.
JL: To be honest, the only thing that’s changes is that every sports podcast seems to want to pretend to have morphed into a health podcast for at least half of each episode.
- If the effects of COVID-19 last through the summer, what action should U-Sports take regarding the 2020-2021 athletic season?
JL: Well, the only season that stands to be significantly affected is soccer as they start their season way earlier. I think you shift the entire model to an indoor soccer season, all the players will have played both in their lives, and make the season later. Basically, you’d be taking the model for track – cross country when it’s warm, indoor when it’s cold – and applying it to England’s greatest export (because the fuckers stole everything else).
EB: Considering what every other athletic schedule has done, I’d say they should be safe rather than sorry and just cancel the season. At least until things get figured out.
TM: In my completely ignorant opinion, I don’t think they should cancel the season, but perhaps playing the games without fans might be a happy middle ground. The main priority is keeping the rate of infection slow, but we cannot cancel everything for a year or more. So, I think the goldilocks zone will be small groups and limiting large gatherings; just enough to have a football game with all of the coaches and staff. That way athletes will still be able to practice and go to games, but the wider audience will not be brought together and increasing the risk.
- What is the best sports story you have heard in the last three weeks since there have been many positive stories coming out since social distancing has been implemented?
TM: Well the one that most stands out in my mind and this is not even the best example, but Zion stepping up immediately to pay for the arena workers. He may not have even been the first guy to do it, but what struck me was that this 19-year-old who had barely even played immediately said he would pay the salaries of everyone. He may not have even had to do it, but that is what stuck out to me.
JL Zion Williamson paying for arena staff salaries. The billionaire owners should be paying, but apparently a kid who is 19 years old has a better moral compass than an old white owner. Actually, no surprise there at all.
EB: Tom Brady going to Tampa Bay – TB to TB! A couple of pals and I made the prediction way back before the free agency and life just kind of worked out nicely.
- a) What do you think of the millionaire athletes who have stepped up to pay arena workers in contrast to the billionaire owners who are not stepping up?
EB: I think athletes have been at that point in their lives, so it makes sense. Athletes, most of the time, have to earn their way before they make it to the big show. Billionaire owners feel more like they’ve been raised for success and don’t feel as though they need to share that success.
JL: Apparently I read your mind earlier. Fuck the owners. Calgary Flames, I’m talking to you.
TM: I think it’s madness, honestly. I understand there is an uncertainty regarding how long this will last, but it’s not like owners of teams are beholden to a board for the most part. The money is coming out of their pockets and they can’t spend a couple million to help out the people who need it most, living on that hourly wage. It’s just interesting how there are two types, the owners who are willing to do it and those who aren’t. I suppose there is also the third group in Philly where they decided not to, but took so much criticism they changed their minds.
- b) Why do you think there is a stark contrast between hockey owners and basketball owners with how they are handling the situation?
TM: I think part of that is the attention that the hockey owners get in Canada, versus in the States basketball gets more attention. But, there is also less money in hockey than there is in basketball and perhaps that’s the driving force.
EB: Honestly, couldn’t tell you.
JL: Eat the rich.
- If you were a head coach for the U of R how would you make sure your athletes are still getting their training in?
JL: I wouldn’t. I mean, I would help them keep their schedules so they have some form of routine, but anyone who isn’t training for Olympic Trials – which will be pushed back anyway, I’m sure – needs to worry about peaking anytime soon. If anything, I would focus on getting them into training that they wouldn’t get otherwise. What a great time to incorporate diet, or sports psych, or body and movement work from a breath perspective into the athletes’ routine than now. Overall, I would ask coaches to lay the fuck off. Less is more.
TM: The athletes would be getting a series of home workout routines and there would be scheduled team zoom meetings regularly to check in on everyone. Because I’m the mindfulness guy as well everyone would be forced into a daily meditation practice. Yes, that is right I said I would force them into it. Training athlete attention should be one of the number one goals for coaches, because you need focused and attentive athletes at all times. In addition to an athlete who has coping skills and increased self-awareness. It’s a no brainer. Athletes are forced to do things all of the time, so just add this one to the list; it’s a skill that goes beyond sport.
EB: Maybe something along the lines of home workouts or cardiovascular fitness regiments. Also, just to keep up the mental aspect, looking over plays through PDF files.
- What recommendations do you give to the good readers who are craving some sports content right now?
EB: Buy Madden.
TM: There is still tons of good sports content out there! Watch old games. It’s funny the things that you remember well and the things you do not remember well. I rewatched the Lakers win against Boston in 2010 and it was a horrible game. No one played well, it seemed like every shot that went up was a brick. We [the Lakers] missed so many free throws and there were so many below average players on that team I can’t believe we won a title with that roster.
JL: The NBA has begun posting recent iconic games to their YouTube channel. I would also tell people to cancel any sports subscriptions that don’t archive their content and play the video game version instead. The 2K servers can’t get any worse.
- a) What did you think of Roger Goodell telling people they are continuing on with the draft and no one is allowed to criticize his decision?
JL: I think it’s par for the course for a man who is against player welfare. It’s only because that NHL ghoul is a hapless loser that Goddell isn’t known as the worst commissioner. Mind you, the baseball one has also bungled his work. I guess what I’m saying is that Silver is the only good one.
EB: I think that is a very childish way to go about the situation. Of course, when you’re basically a man-child…
TM: This is the funniest thing I have ever heard come out of a commissioner’s mouth. I am laughing just thinking about how ridiculous it is for anyone to say. Particularly in America where they care about free speech as much as their guns and football, so it was just an amazing situation where he said one of the worst, yet most innocuous thing possible.
- b) How does that contrast with Adam Silver’s message about the NBA draft?
TM: Adam Silver will be defined by how he handled crisis and his legacy will always be sending North American Sports into complete shut-down.
JL: What’s with all the sub-questions? It’s almost like a doctoral student wrote this thing. The NBA is always on the leading edge and will come out ahead, yet again. I do think the NFL was hampered by not being in their season and also dealing with having to get a CBA done, but I don’t think anyone should trust the No Fun League to do what’s right.
EB: I’m not familiar unfortunately.
8) The university has discontinued all in-person activities. How should they work to make use of online resources to reach out to the people who relied on weekly physical activity or rehabilitation through the U of R?
EB: The best I can think of at the moment is sending out workout routines for said individuals, however, home rehabilitation can only go so far so here’s hoping the U of R has those resources available soon.
JL: I think the university, and the athletics department, need to figure out how to worry less about snitch lines and long emails faking their empathy and more about supporting their students. If you gave a shit, Harold, you wouldn’t have replaced the doctor’s office with your faculty spare room.
TM: I believe the University should be working hard to get everyone who was involved with those programs some sort of adapted version that they can do online, perhaps again with weekly online meet-ups. Try to keep people connected in some way.
- What do you think of major sports organizations playing games without fans in the stadium?
TM: I think they should be quarantining everyone into one hotel in a few cities including the broadcasting teams. Quarantine everyone for 14 days or so, and then play games all in a neutral site with no fans. They will have food and facilities set-up for everyone, it would involve a huge sacrifice on everyone’s part, but that would be one way to do it.
EB: I think that Madden is just as, if not more entertaining.
JL: Depends on the sport. I think why it’s being suggested so heavily in soccer is because it’s already a norm when a team is punished, particularly in Europe. Those games, while they suck for the players, aren’t seen as any less legitimate. I don’t think they should play any games, I think it stinks of a grab for television revenue, but I understand why they want to do it.
10) What can you recommend as an indoor exercise that can help readers promote their own physical activity?
JL: I don’t run, Tyler, so I’m going to go with yoga and breathing exercises. Body scans are a great tool when you’re dealing with a virus that may be hard to distinguish from any kind of regular illness.
TM: I highly recommend people do yoga actually, I’m coming off as a huge hippie talking about mindfulness and yoga, but they are truly beneficial activities. Stretching out your back and legs from sitting so much has helped me and I already am noticing a difference in my flexibility doing it every day for only a week.
EB: Push-ups, sit-ups, and drink plenty of water.
11) What is a mental health/ mental performance tip you can give?
EB: Don’t get down on yourself, shit happens and sometimes you can’t control life.
TM: You know the answer. Meditate.
JL: Just because you can drink at 11 without judgement doesn’t mean you should. Start your day with some breathing or movement, and don’t stay in your chair for too long. Open your windows whenever you can, but stay the fuck home.