In An Olympics-Less Year, Athletes Can Still Get The Gold

by Alex Garrett

For the first time ever, the decision as most know by now was made to postpone the Summer Olympics in Tokyo until 2021.

As historic as that is dating back to Grecian times, there is still gold to be won by athletes during this trying time. If not for a physical gold medal this year, the gold of staying safe is up for grabs.

The four major leagues can enforce all they want, but it truly is up to the athlete to stay in bubble mode, or to not violate baseball policies of not going into public spaces. I got inspired to talk about this after reports surfaced the Miami Marlins are under investigation whether or not even just a couple of the team ended up out of the bubble-but-not-really-bubble each franchise are supposedly in. It is frustrating to read that players making money, financially obligated in and of itself to stay safe and those around them safe, could really decide to not stay safe amidst a pandemic.

Staying on team premises during competition is nothing new to me. Firstly, as an athlete from age 5–21, running around the Mitchel Field on one leg, I wanted to make sure I got the SLEEP and ENERGY to win! More importantly, athletes competing in the formerly-known, “Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged” (now called Nassau County Victory Challenge), staying in a bubble for kids with disabilities is paramount. This bubble is the dormitories of Hofstra University. Every first weekend of June, the campus graciously allows athletes and volunteers to stay right near Mitchel Field for easy commute! Furthermore, NICE buses on Long Island would transport us all to either Mitchel Field or Nassau Community College, the site of competition which includes wheelchair basketball!

Kids from across New York City, Long Island and yes even from out of state, compete for gold whether it be via wheelchair racing, wheelchair basketball , or running with a walker or crutches! They not only compete, the kids that compete take measures (helped by amazing parenting) to be safe and have fun while competing! These kids have nothing to gain monetarily but through the excitement of participating in a team sport and enjoying the able-bodied kids that cheer on our athletes year in and year out!

Which begs the question, can athletes that feel they can do whatever they want learn from even just one of our athletes that have competed for the love of competition and yes, in fact, won gold? I hope so!

I would love to see the collective athlete one by one say ‘I will stay safe for my team, my family and I’. For our disabled community, staying inside to rest up and to be safe pre-competition inside a must. That is how so many kids can win gold, staying inside MEANT BEING ON TRACK TO WIN GOLD.

That would be the ultimate gold for the leagues if their players only followed the love of the game and their health in 2020.