Beyond the Page - June 17, 2020

The return of the English Premier League is the biggest step toward normalcy in sports we’ve had in 100 days after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down large swaths of the world over the past few months.  There.  I said it.

I have been watching a variety of live sports over the past few weeks: German and Spanish soccer, Korean Baseball, Australian Rules Football (RIP Mark/Go Eagles!), the PGA, and even the southern hemisphere’s Super Rugby.  Of note: I will never dip so low as to watch Rugby League. In a world that already contains Rugby Union and American Gridiron Football, it is wholly irrelevant.  However, none of that matters when it comes to the English Premier League.  Regardless of bias, this is the top sports league on Earth, and it is back.

Much like what we experience in our every day lives right now, things still feel a tad off. In the first half of this Sheffield United v Aston Villa game, there has been one instance of some incredibly spotty referring.

Outside of that, there is no crowd.  For those unaware, English soccer features rabid and “involved” fans.  I miss the songs, the chants, and the flat-out comedy of some of them.  One article I read stated they are going to use crowd noise from the FIFA video game series, which is some help, but when I play the game, I hear at least some of the base chants. A rousing “Glory, Glory Man United” or “You’ll Never Walk Alone” are staples of the experience.  Hopefully, it is just a kink they’re working out.

Their social distancing guidelines are necessarily extreme.  I do not want to go into the minutiae of it all, but they are doing everything they can to ensure safety.

The play itself, I can tell that everyone is a tad rusty.  The teams’ cohesion is off, possibly due to the socially distanced practices they have endured. 

These are not complaints at all, just observations.  This just warms my soul.

Speaking of warm activities, our beloved Many Tigers are back on the football field, braving these temperatures in preparation of this fall’s upcoming season. 

Reading over Twitter messages, Head Coach Jess Curtis is absolutely elated with the team so far, stating that the upperclassmen are really motivating and setting the standard for the younger guys.  There are no complaints of players coming back with a sub-standard fitness level.  These guys, as always, mean business. 

I can’t wait for that next slice of normalcy to hit.  Especially when it is followed up with a Many Tiger trip to the dome. 

Until next time, my friends. 

Rate this article: 
No votes yet