Please, Sir. I Want Some More (Or Even Any) Sports

How is The Link’s Sports Team Getting Their Fill?

I just miss her so much :( Graphic Joey Bruce

Sports–for the time being–are dead.

With the COVID-19 outbreak reaching the level of a pandemic, one league after another shut down operations indefinitely. This left an odd gap in everyday life that made the entire situation feel so surreal.

In times of mass distress, sports have always been one of the most effective ways to create bonds amongst people and help them get their minds off the stresses of the real world. But there are no more sports. So what do we do? Well, that is a question we asked some of the members of The Link’s sports staff.

Olivier Neven, Sports Editor
I’m somewhat of a sports nut. So having no pro sports to watch or follow right now might be one of the weirdest things I’ve ever had happen to me (just a close second to the whole worldwide pandemic thing). Without the daily stream of National Hockey League games, or weekends filled to the brim with soccer from the top European leagues, I’ve had to turn to the next best thing: video games.

A week into quarantine season, I’ve spent more hours grinding away at objectives in FIFA 20’s Ultimate Team mode than I had in the last seven months since the game came out. Obsessing over my team, finding the right tactics and formations to use and getting unreasonably upset at the game when I lose are all part of my new daily routine thanks to the outbreak of COVID-19.

To escape the stress and occasional heartache brought on by FIFA, I hop on EA Sports’ hockey title, NHL 20. My go-to mode is the EA Sports Hockey League, where a couple of buddies and I join forces to compete against other teams. It’s a lot of fast-paced fun, filled with silky dangles, sick snipes and huge hits, and usually ends with my team winning.

I guess if any good comes out of these crazy times, it’ll be my increased dexterity and a loaded Ultimate Team in FIFA.

Elias Grigoriadis, Co-News Editor
I’m a very nostalgic person. That definitely does not help when your two favourite teams–the Montreal Canadiens and FC Barcelona–are both in transitional periods and are struggling. I’ve found myself on an endless loop of watching highlights of happier times (for Barcelona only, there is no happiness for Habs fans in my lifetime).

Throw those highlights in a bowl, mix in some sports video games, way too many sports documentaries, and add a dash of Stephen A. Smith compilations and you have exactly what I’m doing to feed my addiction.

Former Sports and News Editor Alex Perez also recommended I watch The English Game and I strongly recommend it for anyone interested in learning more about the growth of soccer in its early days.

Maxime Cadotte, Staff Writer
As much as I hate the fact that the sports world is basically on a standstill, there are still some things that I can do to keep me going. Sport is a comfort that everyone can turn to when the world seems dim and here are just some of my remedies.

For one, sports video games are always a comfort for a sports fan to go back to as they can bring back nostalgia about what could be considered the good old days depending on which year you choose to play. Even now there is a new Major League Baseball game that is out. The National Football League is still going through their offseason so big names are changing places and there is still a draft to get excited about.

With all of that, there are plenty of ways for us to enjoy sports. As the saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens.

“I’ll also watch the greatest and most underrated sports movie of our time, High School Musical.”
—Oseremen Irete

Oseremen Irete, Staff Writer
As much as I wished the season would end after the pain of Arsenal’s dramatic last-minute crumble to Olympiakos in the Europa League; as much as I cursed the ghost of James Naismith while witnessing the Sixers find more innovative ways to be underwhelming every game, I was not prepared to lose both my favourite sports to COVID-19.
I’ve filled that gap by engaging with the stories that excite me the most about sports, stories not just about what happens during the games but the communities and cultures that surround it. Copa90 Stories is a YouTube channel that does just that when it comes to soccer. Their documentaries cover the fan culture, history, and characters that make the beautiful game beautiful.
I’m currently binging their Derby Days series, which is a deep dive into some of soccer’s most intense rivalries. It does a good job of breaking down the context of these derbies and is basically a culture and history show with a soccer lead.
I’ll also watch the greatest and most underrated sports movie of our time, High School Musical.

Cassidy MacDonald, Staff Writer
In the days leading up to Concordia University suspending in-person lectures, my musings progressed from Rudy Gobert testing positive for coronavirus to the realization of the situation’s gravity.

Before the NBA suspended play, Gobert touched everything within his seven-foot nine-inch wingspan. Now, states mandate six-foot social buffers.

Ice melts and anxious metropolitans turn Montreal’s sidewalks into middle school dance halls.

Drugstores shelves relieve themselves of toilet paper and bidet sales skyrocket.

I suppose the Knicks now have no chance to clean up their front office.

Lebron, Kawhi, and Zion disappear from my television as I shift my focus to online classes. Books, statistical software, mapping projects, and indoor-cycling fill my time.

While I acknowledge the horrors that the people most affected by the pandemic face, feelings of disconnection stray. Instead, I feel connected to the people with whom I share adversity.

Louis Pringle, Staff Writer
Video games have always played a crucial part in my love for sports. Games like NHL 07, FIFA 07, and NFL Street 2 were revolutionary in my eyes. They allowed me to appreciate sports on another level while growing my passion for the real competition on the ice, the course or the field.

Still, to this day, video games are there to cheer me up when times get tough (or when you’re quarantined at home for two weeks.) But as my love for quick pace action sports grew, I developed an interest in a sport that most consider boring or simply too difficult. If you know me well, you know that I’m a golf nut.

I work for a golf company and in the summer, most of my money ends up in the pockets of the local clubhouse. But, in these trying times where driving ranges are not open and most simulators are closed, only one option remains, my PS4, the comfort of my bed, and The Golf Club 2019.

Also, watching old Masters tournaments on YouTube never hurts. Augusta was as stunning back then as it is today. A Masters in Autumn sounds like a fairytale scenario!

Olivier Cadotte, Outgoing Coordinating Editor/Interim Editor-in-Chief/Office Dad

Let me be honest with y’all for a minute. Besides a few games, I catch while flipping channels late at night, or a game I specifically plan around watching (a Canadiens game here and there on TV or on the radio while I’m commuting, or the extremely good run my Tennessee Titans went on in the NFL playoffs) I don’t watch that much in terms of live sports.

But, instead one of the things I’m known for around The Link office (and that constantly freaks Elias out) is my knowledge of older and/or weird sports stuff. Anything from the 1990s I probably at least know of, and that’s all thanks to three of my favourite research tools: Wikipedia, HockeyDB (and it’s equivalents across different sports) and my absolute favourite: YouTube.

You would be shocked how many full games are out there on YouTube, free to watch with commentary and relatively good quality. Want to watch a 1994 Montreal Expos/Atlanta Braves game (with original 90s commercials!)? It’s there.

Want to see Michael Jordan win his last NBA championship as the Chicago Bulls beat the Utah Jazz in game 6 of the 1998 NBA finals? It’s there.

Tired of watching memorable moments and just want to recreate that feeling of watching a normal, mostly meaningless April regular-season NHL game? There’s a ton there, including this beauty from 1999 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the St. Louis Blues (featuring current Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin and a couple of other names you might recognize). These full games are honestly a great way to really see how different leagues, teams, playstyles, and even entire sports were a few decades ago. If you miss the experience of watching the games you love, YouTube has you covered.