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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Covid-19 remains prominent player in sports

by Wally Hall | June 30, 2021 at 2:28 a.m.

It would seem every fan of any program in the SEC would be happy that Vanderbilt and Mississippi State are in the College World Series championship series.

Of course, if one of those programs is your team, it is fair not to be neutral. But as the SEC says, "It Just Means More."

Arkansas fans should feel a little disappointed since the Hogs went a combined 4-0 against those teams, but Arkansas came up a couple of runs short against North Carolina State.

That's the same Wolfpack team that was eliminated from the tournament by covid-19.

The NCAA had no choice but to send the Wolfpack packing when two players tested positive for the virus, which is alive and well and apparently trying to make a comeback.

Maybe the two NC State players were anti-vaxxers. That is their right, but if that's the case, their right cost their team and school a shot at the national championship.

We ran a column by Greg Cote of the Miami Herald in Tuesday's paper in which he outlined several ways the virus is still affecting the world of athletics.

The Toyko Olympics already has been delayed more than a year, and the officials there are sitting on pins and needles as athletes from all over the world converge on the most populated city in the world with more than 37 million residents.

Cote's point was that athletes need to be positive role models in the fight against the virus, as do coaches and administrators.

The NCAA pulled off an entire basketball tournament with only one team leaving because of the virus.

As more people got vaccinated, it appeared our country was speeding toward recovery, which means sold-out football stadiums THIS fall.

Alabama's Nick Saban starred in TV and radio commercials asking Crimson Tide fans to please get the shot so they could have full stadiums. There was an immediate surge of people getting vaccinated in the state, then it slowed down again.

It seems like Arkansas started slow and got slower.

An email last week from the SEC about football media days -- which are scheduled for July 19-22 in Birmingham, Ala. -- warned there may be a limit to how many people can get credentials.

The meetings were canceled last year, but in the years before they averaged more than 1,000 credentialed media members.

Sunday in a grocery store yours truly ran into an old acquaintance, and as is his right, he wasn't wearing a mask.

Who knows who has or hasn't been vaccinated, so I was wearing a mask. That's my right, although he referred to me as one of those "dirty people."

I don't wear a mask for me.

I've had both shots and the virus. My doctor joked that I should donate blood since I had so many antibodies.

I wear a mask in public generally for others, but more specifically because a friend is fighting leukemia. He was diagnosed before the shots were available, and with all the chemotherapy he has no antibodies.

I told that to the acquaintance, and he said he would say a prayer and quickly hurried off.

We don't know for sure whether the Wolfpack players decided not to take the shots, but we do know that they were eliminated form the College World Series because they tested positive for the virus.

Vanderbilt, which had issues with the virus during basketball season, apparently did what it needed to do.

The Commodores didn't back into the championship series. Any team in America would have advanced if the other team was eliminated because of positive virus tests.

Print Headline: Covid-19 remains prominent player in sports


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