Sports, Christmas, and COVID-19: A perfect mixture of art

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

I’ll start this off with the last line during my special Christmas article last year.

“Sports just took a break, for something bigger, brighter, and better.”

And yes, it did happen.

After a year of struggle last 2020, my blank pad and my sturdy pen suddenly came alive this year as sports also took a leap from a stagnant position.

As vaccines were slowly incorporated to become our first line of defense against the COVID-19 virus, the different sectors that were almost shut down last year also made their highly-anticipated return.

Small businesses, different establishments, and contact sports made their comeback just this year with almost more than half already operating.

It brings me joy seeing the city adapt to the new normal with the minimum health and safety protocols still being followed.

It’s like a glimmer of light in a dark cave.

As a sports journalist, there is nothing more exciting than going out in the field, getting in touch with the sports atmosphere while immersing yourself into the feel of the games.

Last year, I haven’t experienced that. Now, the moment that contact sports were already allowed in the City of Love following the designation of Iloilo City under Alert Level II, everyone in the sports sector exploded in joy.

Several sports personalities immediately called me, expressing their initial plans for the rest of the year before 2021 ends until 2022.

Boy, those phone calls for me were historical.

After one year, local sports and fieldwork came back and currently, the JB Amateur Basketball League (JB ABL) by commissioner Jayphet Balbacal and Executive Assistant for Sports Mr. Rudiver Jungco Sr. laid out their holiday treats for the Ilonggos with their list of events.

Also, some private groups and the movement of the esports industry are continuing to cater to the Ilonggos’ taste.

Embracing the busy and stacked schedule was always what I wanted. Hopefully, as 2022 fast approaches, COVID-19 will finally vanish.

As the threat of the new Omicron variant comes in, I ask everyone to still please stay vigilant and continue to follow the safety protocols.

We can’t let another surge take over the country. Let us get vaccinated with the presence of the COVID-19 boosters now available.

Let us help hand in hand not to go back to what we experienced last year. Let’s take it as a lesson that we can learn from.

The return of sports is currently in good hands. We can’t let things slip away with our carelessness. This is our year to bounce back.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone, indeed, sports, the birth of our dear Lord savior, and the pandemic is a perfect mixture of art we didn’t see.