A guide to the stages of grief caused by sports cancellations

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If you’re a sports fan, you’ve felt the whirlwind of emotions brought on by the frequent rescheduling of college sports and major sporting leagues these past few months. One moment you feel comfortable that college football will return in the fall, and the next the Pac-12 CEO Group is voting to postpone all fall sports through the end of 2020. 

Below is a guide to processing this tumultuous time in the world of sports, which will hopefully help you cope with any negative emotions you’re feeling as of late.

Step 1: Sadness

Unfortunately for Cal students, there will be no school-sanctioned sports this fall. After the Big Ten announced it would be postponing fall sports until further notice, the Pac-12 followed suit and became the second Power Five conference to announce cancellations. Other conferences, including the Big 12, the ACC and the SEC, have decided to forge ahead and attempt to maintain a safe environment for their student-athletes while continuing live sporting events.

On Aug. 13, NCAA President Mark Emmert announced on Twitter that there will be no fall sports championships because of a lack of participation from schools around the country.

The immediate future of fall college sports is bleak. Feeling let down by the Pac-12’s decision is not uncommon, and it still stings a little to learn that the only things to look forward to in the fall are midterms. Being sad about the postponement of college sports, even in a pandemic, is normal — healthy, even.

Step 2: Denial

After learning that there will be no game days in the fall, you may find yourself moving on from the Pac-12 entirely and focusing all your attention on the major sports leagues that are holding live competitions. By redirecting your sadness over the loss of fall sports to the games you can stream live, you might not even miss college football.

The NBA, MLB and NHL are a few of the major sports leagues that have modified their schedules and returned to live play under new COVID-19 precautions. It’s easy to deny that college sports are off when you can watch Mookie Betts become the third person ever to have six 3-home run games.

Even though you won’t be able to watch the Bears compete in the fall, there are still plenty of Cal alumni to root for. Former Bear Collin Morikawa won the PGA Championship at only 23 years of age, becoming the third-youngest winner in golf history. Morikawa’s victory fulfilled Cal fans’ needs for something new to celebrate.

Step 3: Hope

While you might still be in denial of the cancellation of fall sports, there is hope in all this darkness! Cal football coaches have been busy recruiting the class of 2021, and their hard work is starting to pay off. Using a new style of virtual recruiting, the Bears have managed to build a cohort that is currently ranked third in the Pac-12.

Staying optimistic about the future of college sports and sports in general is important. Major sporting events have been canceled in the past in light of events such as World War II and the 1918 flu pandemic, so we can find our way past this setback.

As you process these emotions, keep in mind that healing isn’t linear. You may find yourself repeating the second step over and over again, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Rewatch old games to keep yourself occupied, pay attention to new ones and, most importantly, remember that this pain is temporary.

One day, all sports will be able to return safely. Until then, defend against COVID-19 and enjoy the sports that we do have.

Mia Horne is the deputy sports editor. Contact her at [email protected].