Roy Green: The benefit of COVID-19 vaccines for major professional sports leagues

A nurse holds a phial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy's Hospital in London, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, as the U.K. health authorities rolled out a national mass vaccination program. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool). AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool

Much has been written and said in recent days about possible COVID-19-vaccine queue-jumping, followed by inevitable chatter that this would prove difficult to achieve by even the elites among us.

I suspect many of the rest of us quite expect the well-heeled, the significantly influential, and best-connected may find their way to secretive vaccination.

The National Hockey League has been subjected to enthusiastic critiques at the suggestion the NHL may have an interest in purchasing a private supply of COVID-19 vaccine for its players, coaches and officials who make the watching of hockey at the highest professional level possible.

Sure, the reflexive response may well be disapproving finger-wagging, but let’s take a timeout.

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Millions upon millions of human beings are seeing their daily lives disrupted, their careers and their jobs either in jeopardy or simply gone.

COVID-19 is not only a sickening invader. COVID-19 has stolen the joy of life and replaced it with caution and fear.

So what are we left with to sate our hardwired emotional needs? Which of our anticipated pleasures remain?

Many cling to their love of sports. We marvel at what the most physically-gifted deliver by way of our televisions or online screens.

Yet the virus has already delivered major disruption.

The Masters golf tournament retreated into November instead of heralding a glorious spring. Basketball, baseball, hockey and football delivered mad-hatter-designed seasonal play.

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Looking forward to a big game? Sorry, it’s been postponed because of positive coronavirus tests.


As we wobble toward the termination of 2020, for millions NHL, MLB, NFL, NBA, CFL and MLS play represents a deposit into the bank of emotional security.

We can look forward to Tiger and Rory in a battle of generations, or Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen duelling wheel-to-wheel at 200 mph during the globetrotting Formula 1 racing series.

Paving the way for the games and contests to proceed along their traditional calendar routes will satisfy at least somewhat the needs of our sport affairs of the heart.

Wearing a favourite team’s regalia, replete with face painting and weird haircuts is OK in front of your television. Go for it. You’re blowing off steam. It steadies your irritated and sport-deprived central nervous system.

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Watching the very best of professional sport will keep us home and decrease opportunities for a malevolent virus to hitchhike into our nasal passages, causing unpredictable harm and misery.

No one is suggesting multi-millionaire athletes displace seniors and health-care providers from their place of prominence on the vaccination rollout. But what do a few thousand doses of vaccine represent to the big picture of physical and mental health wellbeing?

Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Global News Radio network.

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