Ghost Games and Other COVID-19 Musings

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned our world upside down, especially with regard to sports. The NBA is scrambling to finish its season with a 22-team playoff scenario at Walt Disney World’s Wide World of Sports complex, major league baseball is trying to salvage something with a 60-game schedule, and there is no telling what the NFL will be able to do.

Elsewhere, soccer in Germany began playing in empty stadiums, which may happen for our football games. On the slightly brighter side, this will give us a chance to learn a new word — “geisterspiel.”

Geisterspiel, literally translated as “ghost game,” is a word the Germans coined to describe a soccer match played without spectators. Ghost games were originally started in response to rioting fans, which goes back as far as 2001 in Switzerland (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geisterspiel). Officially, the term is “behind closed doors,” which comes out in German as “Unter Ausschluss der Öffentlichkeit,” so geisterspiel is catching on very quickly (https://www.dw.com/en/bundesliga-geisterspiele-gegenpressing-and-other-useful-german-football-words/a-53414539).

In this country, one small compensation for missing the baseball season — The Boston Red Sox organist is giving on-line concerts every afternoon at https://www.facebook.com/7thinningstretch2020/.

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