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GAME CHANGER: SPORTS IN THE AGE OF COVID-19 


Many sports fans and players recall the emotional return to the playing fields following 9/11. Sports provided a means of coming together to grieve and honor our losses. Now, with so much loss and anxiety in the world, COVID-19 has prevented sports at every level, from youth sports to college to the pros. The impacts range from postponements to cancellations and in some colleges, even eliminating some sports programs. Everyone connected to sporting events is being affected economically and personally, from the “front office” managers, to the players and team staff, and perhaps most troubling, to the vendors and many other essential workers who support events. At every level contingency plans have been drawn up but no one really knows how and when sports will return to our daily life. Can sports provide some sense of community and solace in these times? Will sports return to a pre-pandemic "normal?" Along with our moderator, our panelists examined these impacts and questions for youth sports, collegiate sports, and minor and major league baseball.

VIDEOS FROM THE CLASSACT ZOOM SPORTS PANEL

We have created 6 videos from this forum--one of the whole event, and 5 others, divided by topic. They are all available by clicking on the playlist in the YouTube video screen below. The playlist is very hard to see! You will find it along the top of the screen just to the right of the title of the forum.  It looks like this  . 

Click on the    button. That will open a drop down menu. You can then scroll down the menu and choose individual videos to play.

RESOURCES PAGE FROM THE ZOOM FORUM CHAT

OUR PANELISTS

KATHY DELANEY-SMITH

@HarvardWBB

Kathy Delaney-Smith, the Friends of Harvard Women's Basketball Head Coach, is entering her 39th season in 2020-21 as the winningest head coach in Ivy League history. Delaney-Smith has put Harvard basketball on the map both nationally and internationally. Delaney-Smith is one of the longest tenured coaches in collegiate women’s basketball and owns a 38-year coaching record at Harvard of 617-420 with a 360-159 record in Ivy League play. Those achievements include 12 20-win seasons, 11 Ivy titles, a .500 record or better in 31 of the last 32 campaigns and 15 postseason appearances. Delaney-Smith’s involvement in the game on the national level has afforded her the opportunity to coach for USA Basketball three times in her career, including the honor of serving as the head coach of the contingent that won gold at the World University Games in Izmir, Turkey in the summer of 2005. Delaney Smith has received numerous accolades throughout her coaching career, including being inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame and the first woman inducted into the Massachusetts Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame. Delaney-Smith has been recognized by the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union as a “woman who has inspired other women, and has contributed to the quality of life for women and their families.”

CHANGES KATHY WANTS TO SEE IN SPORTS

  • The pandemic is reducing sports revenues to colleges. I’d like to see excess funding in collegiate sports be trimmed so that no sports need to be cut.
  • For social justice, I want to see more education about racism and more recognition of social justice issues. 
  • I want to see mentoring and role modeling for inner city youth by college teams.

TOM VOLPE

Tom Volpe is an investment banker and venture capitalist, and has found a thriving second career in his first love: baseball. Volpe is the owner of three minor-league clubs--the Stockton (CA) Ports, the Delmarva (MD) Shorebirds and the Everett (WA) Aquasox. He also sits on the Board of Minor League Baseball. Tom attends Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings and keeps busy on a variety of committees that currently are finding ways to play ball again.

CHANGES TOM WANTS TO SEE IN SPORTS

  • Major League franchises make a lot of money on media rights. If a city puts up taxpayer money to build a stadium, when the franchise is eventually sold by the owner, a chunk of the appreciation should go back to the city to benefit its citizens.

RICK WOLFF

@askcoachwolff

Rick Wolff is a nationally recognized expert in the field of sports psychology and sports parenting. For the last 23 years he has hosted the award winning, highly popular weekly sports parenting program, “The Sports Edge,”on WFAN Sports Radio in New York City. He has been a featured expert on every major television network and has even appeared as the featured guest on Oprah discussing sports parenting issues. A former professional baseball player in the Detroit Tigers’ organization, Wolff was hired as the first sports psychology coach in the Cleveland Indians organization from 1989-94. He also served as the head baseball coach at Mercy College (Dobbs Ferry, NY). Wolff has authored or co-authored 20 books and has written hundreds of widely acclaimed prescriptive columns on sports parenting for Sports Illustrated. He is a longtime member of the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sports Psychology.

CHANGES RICK WANTS TO SEE IN SPORTS

  • Youth travel and club teams have become a pay for play environment. I’d like to see Pro teams funnel money to youth teams so all kids are able to play on teams that travel to compete.

DICK FRIEDMAN

@DickFriedman24

Our moderator, Dick Friedman, is a former editor and writer at Sports Illustrated, where he covered pro and college basketball, baseball and golf, and directed the magazine's opening Scorecard section. Since 2014 he has been a contributing editor at Harvard Magazine covering Crimson football. He is the author of "The Coach Who Strangled the Bulldog: How Harvard's Percy Haughton Beat Yale and Reinvented Football," which chronicles the immortal Crimson teams of the pre-World War I era.

CHANGES DICK WANTS TO SEE IN SPORTS

  • Currently there are only three Black head coaches and one General Manager, Andrew Berry, Harvard ’09, for the Cleveland Browns. I’d like to see more Black head coaches and General Managers in the NFL, 10 of each in five years.

    ClassACT HR ‘73
    Classacthr73@gmail.com

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