On a dreary Wednesday afternoon in the middle of quarantine, Collin Assil ’22 sat down in front of his computer to cheer on the Los Angeles Lakers in the playoffs with his best friends. As he watched his Lakers, he instantly forgot the challenges that had resulted from the pandemic.
“During quarantine, I really haven’t been able to connect with many of my friends due to wanting to stay safe,” Assil said. “I have always loved watching Lakers games. I feel like the one good thing to come out of this pandemic has been that I have been able to connect with my friends through sports.”
Although the pandemic raised questions about when athletics would resume, the NBA and MLB Player Associations and commissioners came together to keep their seasons alive. After a break from play, the NBA resumed in a “bubble” format, in which all NBA staff members and players are confined at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Now that these two major sports have started up again, both the Los Angeles Dodgers and L.A. Lakers are favorites to win their respective titles, according to ESPN. It has been 32 years since the Dodgers won the World Series and the Lakers won the NBA championship in the same year.
“Many of my friends, myself included, are die-hard Lakers fans, so when the Lakers made the playoffs this year, we were all very excited,” Assil said. “It has been so fun watching them dominate especially because they hadn’t been good in a really long time.”
With potential titles on the horizon for L.A. sports teams, Michael Lapin ’22 said fans are excited about what is to come.
“Now, before every Lakers and Dodgers game, I hold a Zoom call with my closest friends, and we all watch and discuss the game,” Lapin said.
Because fans have not been able to attend in-person sporting events, they have come up with creative, socially distanced ways to enjoy games with their fellow supporters. Students have used videoconferencing to stay in touch and support their teams together.
“[In a time of divisiveness], sports offers people an outlet of connection,” Jordan Assil ’22 said. “The Dodgers and the Lakers both doing really well helps unite the [L.A.] community together. People of different ethnicities, religions, socio-economic status, political views all ignore their differences in order to root for a common goal.”