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Rick Zamperin: COVID-19 forces the sports world to pause, but for how long?

The Capital One Arena, home of the Washington Capitals NHL hockey club, sits empty Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Washington.
The Capital One Arena, home of the Washington Capitals NHL hockey club, sits empty Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

With the entire sports world on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the question fans of all stripes are asking aloud is how long is this going to last?

Last week, every major sports league, from the NBA and NHL to MLB, MLS, NCAA, golf and European soccer leagues, postponed their seasons in a never-before-seen global effort to prevent the spread of the rapidly expanding coronavirus.

There are no games to attend and no star athletes to cheer on. Fantasy sports has ground to a halt, as has the entire sports betting arena.

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It has only been a handful of days since the “pause” button was pressed, but as a hardcore sports fanatic, it has felt like an eternity.

TV sports networks are having to fill their 24-hour programming schedule with repeat sporting events, such as the Toronto Raptors‘ NBA Finals victory from last summer and Canada’s gold medal win at the world junior hockey championship in January.

But if you’re like me, it’s just not the same.

READ MORE: Ban non-essential visits to long-term care homes during coronavirus pandemic: Ontario chief medical officer

The beauty about live sports — whether it’s hockey, football, soccer, whatever the event — is the element of surprise and the unknown of what is to come.

Which brings me to another unknown, what happens when sports come back?

First things first, whenever that restart day comes, sports leagues, in conjunction with public health officials, better have all their ducks in a row before the lights are turned back on because another “pause” would be disastrous.

When sports does return in earnest, it will warrant a celebration, and not just from sports fans, because it’ll mean that we will have gotten the upper hand in the battle against COVID-19.

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Coronavirus outbreak: Empty shelves, face masks worn as COVID-19 fear grips Britain
Coronavirus outbreak: Empty shelves, face masks worn as COVID-19 fear grips Britain