The loss of sports: Psychologist says to embrace the boredom

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The coronavirus pandemic has led to the cancellation or postponement of all major sports, possibly including the 2020 Olympic games.

During times of national crisis, sports have always been something that people can turn to for comfort. Unfortunately, that is not possible for this case. But Princeton University sports psychologist Mike Gross says that Americans now have a unique opportunity.

“We’re all finding that sports brought a lot of meaning to our lives,” he says. “I think this is a good time to consider what are other aspects of your life that you want to explore. What is meaningful to you? What are the relationships that are meaningful to you, what other hobbies you might want to do?”

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The situation may hit harder for some athletes. Gross says that the virus has not only caused the loss of their season but in some cases the loss of their identities.

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“It makes sense that you would be frustrated, angry, upset in that situation,” he says. “The key is, what do you want to do? What are your values and how do you want to respond to that. I’m hearing a lot of them say they still want to find ways to compete.”

Whether it is finding ways to be active at home, or finally just taking a rest to let an injury heal, Gross says that athletes are resilient. He says that the same can be said for fans. He says that embracing boredom can lead to creativity.

Gross says that sports will return one day.

“How wonderful it’s going to feel when we are able to get out there again. We’re going to have that moment,” he says.

The 2020 games will likely be postponed until 2021. The International Olympic Committee will detail their plan in the coming weeks.

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