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Simmons Says - Are sports on the way back?

In these bleak times, when everything you hear seems to be sad and negative, I want to focus on the positives. Like many around Warren County, I’m just tired of hearing the seemingly endless bad news, so I clung to the first bit of good news I saw this week.

It seems sports – at least nationally – could be on their way back.

President Donald Trump acknowledged the potential of sports being back and fans seeing games “sooner rather than later,” during a conference call with the major sports leagues Saturday. The first bit of big news which emerged from the meeting was that Trump believes the NFL should start on time in September.

Does that mean fans will be in the stands? Maybe not. Is it 100 percent guaranteed? Of course not – things can easily change in four months.

It was, however, the first time optimism around sports began to trickle out to the public. It didn’t stop there.

On Monday, multiple major outlets began to report about Major League Baseball potentially resuming play in May. ESPN reported MLB players and league officials believe it could be possible to bring all 30 teams together in Arizona and start playing games.

Again, there would be no fans live at the event from the start, but at least there could be sports back on TV soon.

The NBA – the first league to shut down operation in March – put out a message on how it won’t make any decisions about a return until May, but it has been pushing for viable blood-testing devices which could return accurate COVID-19 results in a matter of minutes. If it was to secure those kinds of tests, it would likely expedite the return of basketball.

UFC president Dana White has been the most ambitious of all about the return of sports. He took it to another level recently, reportedly securing a private island where he will be able to hold events. 

He’s hopeful to hold UFC 249 on April 18 – just 10 days from now.

It stands to reason that the NHL, soccer leagues and other sports are doing the same thing in hopes of a return date in the coming months.

Does this mean local sports will return just as quickly? I’m not so sure. It’s very obvious local leagues and school teams don’t have the money and resources available like major sports leagues do. Everything is trickle down though – if major sports start, it won’t be long before we find a way.

At the very least, local sports may take solace in the message President Trump put out Saturday - football could start on time. That would be welcome news to a county which packed Nunley Stadium last fall, even if there's restrictions to gathering at the same venue this year.

Sports fans may finally be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.