In the 1950s and 60s folks were all excited and talking about living in a “Space Age.”
Then in the 1980s, former pop icon Madonna sang about “Living In A Material World.”
Now the popular phrase is “living in a virtual world.”
Pretty much anything can be done virtually nowadays and many are. For instance, just last year the sports world beheld it’s first ever ‘virtual draft’. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced each draft pick from the basement of his home.
There were no first round draft picks walking across the stage in the traditional fashion to be greeted by Goodell and receive their team jersey with the No. 1 stitched on, signifying their first round selection.
No hundreds of thousands of fans packed into an arena, or in the case of Nashville two years ago, the streets to witness their favorite players and see who their team of choice would draft next.
No parties or confetti were involved either. World-wide pandemics seem to have that affect on society.
In a recent conversation with a good friend, who just happens to be a Pittsburgh Steeler fan, the talk turned toward what the immediate future may hold for “Big” Ben Roethlisberger and how in the world they lost to the Cleveland Browns in the playoffs.
That’s when the topic shifted to the possibility of virtual sports.
For the sake of saying it would be a possible alternative, let’s just imagine for a moment what a virtual sports world would look like, especially on the high school and college levels.
Of course, we all know this may never happen.
Or will it?
The video game market has made billions over the years selling virtual sports games like the Madden series and NBA Game Time. Yes, I know, that’s not the real world. It’s just for fun. But humor me, anyway.
Let’s say this current ice and snow storm lasts two or three weeks and the MHSAA was forced to make a vital decision on how to handle the playoffs. New commissioner Rickey Neaves and his staff are stuck for a day or two and can’t decide how they’re gonna pull this off.
Simple. Go virtual.
Can anyone imagine seeing the Kossuth Lady Aggies and Belmont Lady Cardinals in a ‘virtual’ state tournament contest. Watching players like Zoe Essary and Macie Walker run up and down the court, making plays and creating plays for their teammates would be fun to watch on a computer screen.
How about the Corinth Warriors and Leake Central Gators in a virtual first round game? If it came down to a final second shot attempt by Kito Windom, and he’s fouled in an obvious fashion, will the referee’s call it this time?
And since we’re going virtual let’s make certain that the coaches are captured in their element in the sideline. As most in these parts are aware, we have some of the most animated coaches to be found. Not only animated, but some of the best dressed coaches live and work right here in Northeast Mississippi. I’d be interested to see how that actually showed up on a virtual game.
And when we get to the point of playing in Jackson, let’s allow the coaches to request the floor to be played on. Everyone who plays these virtual games know that many times we’re able to choose from a variety of courts, or fields when it comes to football.
And my personal favorite is the virtual golf game because that’s the only way I’ll ever be able to play the Master’s Course in Augusta.
Okay, time’s up on the virtual basketball playoff idea. It was a fun thought while it lasted, but I’m sure it got at least some readers intrigued on how it would work if the MHSAA actually tried it.
Now back to reality. The first round of north half playoff games is set for Thursday and Friday with second round games staged over the weekend. That’s certainly a quick turnaround and not the most advantageous way to do it if I were in coaches shoes.
But we play the hand we’re dealt and our hand this week is to work around an ice and sleet event like we haven’t seen the past three years, or since the 2018 Alcorn County Tournament was pushed back several days due to the same elements.
Before I close allow me to say one last thing about this ‘virtual sports world’ we live in. There’s no doubt that virtual drafts and awards shows will be the norm for at least the foreseeable future. And stadiums and arenas with limited or no fans in attendance will continue for now. But it sure is fun to think about the possibilities of how to play games without actually playing them for real.
But what fun would that be? Let’s play the games for real and settle the issue the way it was intended to be.
Until next time ...