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The winners of sports’ hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, file)

Tired of hearing bad news?

Here are the winners at the halfway mark of 2020, one of the most stressful, sadistic, unrelenting, unforgiving years in the history of human competition.

Michael Jordan: “The Last Dance” set the bar for documentaries in professional sports, re-establishing Jordan as an icon for the ages. At a time when statues are tumbling and monuments are crumbling, his legend has been energized. As it should be.

Roger Goodell: The NFL commissioner has enjoyed a breathtaking pandemic, forging ahead with league business; staging a perfect stay-at-home NFL draft; watching marquee quarterbacks and players switch teams; lending his public support to the Black Lives Matter movement, opening the door to a new era of player relations in the NFL.

Colin Kaepernick: He wasn’t looking for vindication. It found him.

Ian Poulter: His epic flatulence at the Travelers Championship was the greatest thing the PGA Tour has produced since its return. And it did not happen by diet or accident. Poulter’s display was surely intended to mock a PGA Tour that had begged its players to wear microphones; to some show of personality; to give a little something to the boom mic’s shadowing their every step. Careful what you wish for.

NASCAR: Taking on the Confederate flag was no small matter. Became the first major American sport to restart during a pandemic. Handled the incendiary noose incident as well as possible, with full transparency and unwavering commitment to driver Bubba Wallace.

Jeff Passan: ESPN’s baseball analyst became a leader in the next generation of news breakers while riding and chronicling the disgusting labor spat between owners and players.

Bryson DeChambeau: When golf shut down, he was impossible to watch, a weirdo who took way too much time in between shots. He returned as the Incredible Hulk, drinking six protein shakes a day, dwarfing Brooks Koepka, hell-bent on pulverizing the golf ball. Now he’s impossible to miss.

The Coyotes: They earned more than a reprieve. Our NHL team could make a Stanley Cup run or end up with the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft.

Devin Booker: Won a televised video game tournament like it was nothing. Spotted on at least two occasions with L.A. celeb-icon/supermodel Kendall Jenner.

Zoom: Nearly 200 percent revenue growth. Duh.

Steve Keim: Pulled off the NFL’s heist of the century early in the pandemic, laying the foundation for all the renewed optimism surrounding the Cardinals.

College athletes: A group that has finally found its voice and its leverage. One star football player helped fuel a movement that changed Mississippi’s stage flag. Another forced Mike Gundy to apologize for everything but the mullet.

Kyle Shanahan: Kliff Kingsbury might’ve won the NFL Draft with his baller mansion, but the 49ers boss signed a six-year, $21 million contract in June, becoming one of the NFL’s highest-paid head coaches in the process.

TikTok: Experts say social media networks are like television shows. They all have a certain lifespan, an expiration date where they are no longer cool. TikTok is the big winner in this arena. Just ask your kids when they’re done making their next video.

The Astros: No player was punished in the sign-stealing scandal that rocked baseball. That’s because pandemic and a labor spat have distracted our focus. Commissioner Rob Manfred has become the primary villain. And even if Major League Baseball returns, there will be no fans to administer frontier justice to a franchise that deserves much worse.

Frank Caliendo: Arizona-based comedian who created and cornered a market by imitating sports personalities has helped fill the content void with numerous contributions over the past four months, most notably his take on Bruce Arians and Pat Summerall.

The Patriots: Added Cam Newton on a bargain contract. Became the first NFL team to replace a MVP quarterback with another MVP quarterback. It’s the third time in history a team has lost and added a former MVP in the same offseason, including the 2005 Cardinals (Emmitt Smith, Kurt Warner).

Adam Silver: NBA players trust their commissioner with their lives. There could be no higher compliment.

Bucs fans: Tom Brady is a maniac on a mission, no matter how many Covid-19 rules he violates alongthe way. Meanwhile, Rob Gronkowski is destined to become Bruce Arians’ new favorite drinking partner. Can’t wait to see this football team in action.

J.R. Smith: Marched with protesters in Los Angeles. Thumped on a vandal messing with his truck. Signs with the Lakers, getting another chance to mess up LeBron’s postseason.

Sports: We now realize how important they are to America’s soul and well-being. And how much we miss them when they’re gone.

Reach Bickley at dbickley@arizonasports.com. Listen to Bickley & Marotta weekdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

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Sports

WFXR Sports Sitdown : Jermaine Ferrell talks sports with KLAS Sports Anchor/Reporter Kevaney Martin

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ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – Angels of Assisi has become very well-known in the Roanoke community, as well as nationally, for the work they do with rescuing animals in great need. Recently, Angels of Assisi came to the rescue of 20 dogs that their owner could no longer provide care for. Director of Community Engagement for Angels of Assisi, Kathleen Legg explains it wasn’t easy for their owner to give them up.

The dogs range in age from young puppies to full-grown adults and seem to be in good health; however, they will need further testing to know for sure.

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Riverside Sport Hall of Fame to move its induction banquet again – Press Enterprise

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A lot of us would love to just skip 2020 entirely. The Riverside Sport Hall of Fame, as it turns out, has opted to do just that.

The organization’s induction of its latest class of inductees, originally scheduled for this past May and then postponed to a Nov. 2 date at the Riverside Convention Center, has been moved back again and is now scheduled to take place at that venue on Monday, May 17, 2021, Hall president Jerry Hurley said.

“I just get the sense that people are uncomfortable being in a room,” he said. “I know I’m uncomfortable being in a room with several hundred other people in a confined space. And our thought was, let’s continue to move it and do it up right. Hopefully by next May 17, all will be well in our country. No guarantee of that, certainly, but it just seemed like the prudent thing to do.”

So the class of ’20 will become the class of ’21. Olympic middle-distance runner (and former UC Riverside star) Brenda Martinez, local fast-pitch softball legend Bob Bomar, former Riverside Poly softball player (and Olympian, and later coach) Vanessa Czarnecki-Duhon, longtime high school coaches Rich Stalder (North) and Rich Graves (Poly) and California Baptist University president Ronald Ellis will receive their red jackets as the newest members of the Hall, swelling the membership to 111.

Additionally, Stan Morrison will receive the Chuck Kane Leadership Award, Ramona assistant principal and longtime area coach John Tibbels will receive the President’s Award, and UCR women’s basketball player Jannon Otto, who is a Type 1 diabetic, will receive the Inspirational Athlete of the Year award.

There was, Hurley confirmed, no thought of adding a second class of inductees, given the tradition — mandated by Kane, the late RCC president and the original leader and forever conscience of the Hall of Fame — that the program be over no later than 9 p.m. After all, if things are close to being back to normal by then, it will be a school night.

“There’d be lightning and thunder coming from the sky, from the cloud that Chuck inhabits right now,” Hurley cracked.

Hurley’s biggest regret was that the banquet’s annual parade of high school and college athletes will have skipped a class. In addition to everything else the Class of 2020 was denied this spring, their athletic achievers missed out on this; the events that caused seasons to be interrupted and canceled also distracted coaches and administrators from submitting their lists of athletes to be honored.

The high school and college Classes of 2021, if all goes well, will be a part of the program.

jalexander@scng.com

@Jim_Alexander on Twitter

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SDHSAA is preparing for a fall sports season

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota High School Activities Association put forth their Summer Contact plan in late May, allowing athletes and coaches to get back in the weight room. Now the board is preparing for a return to live sports this fall.

“We’re cautiously optimistic and I think our state is in a decent place right now, because we aren’t seeing those spikes that are going on in other parts of the country. We’re kind of waiting to see what is going to happen over the next few weeks and then throughout the year we are going to have to be monitoring that,” SDHSAA Executive Director Daniel Swartos said.

The SDHSAA created the Coronavirus Task Force which consists of 20 educators including athletic directors and superintendents. The task force has been given the difficult task of building a safe return to sports plan.

“Our number one question is of course safety and is it safe to do this? Looking through what we have for fall sports and activities and seeing which of those are low contact or high contact and low risk to high risk,” Swartos said.

Football, competitive cheer and competitive dance are in the high contact range, while golf and tennis are in the low risk categories.

Contact Risk Sport
High Football
Competitive Cheer
Competitive Dance
Medium Volleyball
Soccer
Low Golf
Cross Country
Tennis
Contact spread risk chart for Fall Sports- via SDHSAA

Another idea created by the task force is to come up with a safe and efficient way to handle any positive cases that occur throughout the season.

“A standard screening procedure that all schools will use and a standard protocol for Department of Health close contacts in DOH confirmed tests and it gives a piece of mind, that if there is a confirmed close contact, if there is a confirmed case, that these are the procedures that go into place and these are the notifications that go around and everyone is on the same page,” Swartos said.

With the risk of a potential surge this fall, many state and nationals organizations have considered moving their fall sports. However, South Dakota will be looking for a different option.

“There are some states that are looking into maybe switching their spring and fall seasons. The worry with that is if you move track back to the fall, and then things go sideways here in the fall and you have to cancel it, now that’s two straight track seasons that have been canceled and that’s pretty tough for those kids,” Swartos said.

The SDHSAA understands that a potential surge this fall works out better than last spring’s surge, because it would happen early in the school year.

“We’ve got the whole school year to get these things in. If we decide to get everything started and there is some starts and stops in there, there is some shifting we can do with some of the winter and spring seasons, to finish out the fall season sports in the spring if we need to,” Swartos said.

While South Dakota waits to see what happens over the next month, they aren’t the only state playing the waiting game.

“I visit a lot with the director from North Dakota, the director from Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Nebraska and they are all kind of in the same boat that we’re at. They’re all cautiously optimistic about the fall and they’ll all be making those decisions around the same time as we are,” Swartos said.


Click below to learn more about the latest COVID-19 releases from other states:

Minnesota

Nebraska

Iowa


While there are decisions left to be made by the board, the goal of the SDHSAA stays the same.

“Our goal and our mission as always is to get kids active and to get them active mentally and to get them active physically. So that’s what we are going to do and it’s going to be a strange year, there might be some stops during it, but we’re going to do what we can, when we can to give these kids as many experiences as we can give them,” Swartos said.

The first official fall practice is planned for August 5.

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