In their latest announcement related to the delay of the 2019-2020 season due to COVID-19, La Liga and the RREF have basically stopped speculating about when they might be able to play again and have simply punted it to whenever the governing authorities say it is safe. In practice, this does not change anything, the league was not ever going to continue without the government taking the nation out of lockdown and things getting reasonably back to normal in other sectors.
What this does signal, however, is a change in mentality for La Liga and Spanish football. Just last week, Javier Tebas was talking about playing games every 48 hours in order to ensure the season was completed in a reasonable time frame. Moving from one eye on a hurried conclusion to season to an unwillingness to discuss timelines suggests that in the high places of decision making in Spain there is little optimism that this situation will resolve itself soon.
Honestly, my reaction to this has nothing to do with football. As bad as so many clubs need the finances that concluding the season would bring, the real story here is that the people of Spain are likely to be in this lockdown situation for quite a long time. As this virus continues to progress in my own country, I find myself wondering whether we’ll find ourselves in this sort of national lockdown (California and New York here in the states already have), and I wonder what it means for so many folks who rely on small businesses and hourly wages for their livelihood.
On my phone, I have a podcast downloaded that talks about coronavirus and football. I can’t actually bring myself to listen to it. Sports are so often a diversion from these things and when the problem has directly shut down the usual diversion it’s a tough spot to be in, mentally. For this reason I suspect many of you don’t want to read about the virus on a football site and I apologize for bringing it up, but I am starting to suspect we finish 2020 without clear cut champions and what’s worse, without a clear idea of what promotion and relegation look like. More important, though, I have no idea what the world and our families are going to look like when this virus has had its say.
Speaking for myself (and thus not representing the views or opinions of Vox Media, SBNation, Villarreal USA or my fellow authors on this site) as a pastor in my day job my faith in Jesus Christ as hope for salvation is what keeps me positive in this whole thing, despite the doubt, despite the questions that swirl from day to day.* Many folks in our church are part of the highest risk categories for this virus, and we are distancing our congregation to try to keep them safe, but however it plays out, we know we have a God who is in control of even this.
Hope is something everyone needs in this situation, and it looks like our outlet of sports isn’t going to provide it. My prayers are with each of you, and I hope all of us will still be able to come to this place and talk a little football throughout this crisis and especially when it’s all said and done. Endavant!
*As the regular readers of the blog will notice, this is the first time I’ve ever mentioned my day job in an article on the site. The goal here is not to push my religion on anyone, but simply to speak as a human being about how I’m dealing with this situation mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. If your personal views on faith disagree with mine, I don’t hold that against you in any way, and as I hope you have seen I do not see these views as having any detrimental impact on our ability to come to this place and talk about life and football. Good, enriching conversation often involves people from all manner of creeds, backgrounds, and beliefs, and that’s part of what makes football the best sport in the world.