A virtual marathon? A Ghost Ball? Socially distanced concerts? NBA games without a crowd?
One year ago, no one would have imagined these events would become our reality. Yet here we are, one year later, running virtual marathons and “attending” balls and enjoying concerts six feet apart and watching our favorite teams play without the support of their fans in the stands. It’s shocking to see this become our reality due to COVID-19, yet it IS our reality now, and we must learn to adapt to it.
It hasn’t even been a year since COVID-19 took over the world, and it has already infected over 20 million people. One of the hardest parts of controlling this new disease is finding ways to continue living life without extensively spreading it. Of course, it makes sense to lock down everyone, and the number of cases would decrease, but most people and businesses cannot survive a lockdown for weeks to allow the numbers to fall. So how do we continue life during the COVID-19 pandemic? These next few events are just a few of many examples that show how many events were able to continue.
Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon
Due to the rising COVID-19 numbers, the annual marathon run, in remembrance of the OKC bombings, is now a virtual run. What is a virtual run? Participants can now run the race anytime between October 4-18. Runners will still receive an event shirt, medal and other gifts that they would have received on the day of the race. A 168 secondmoment of silence will still be in effect for all runners to remember everyone who was killed or affected by the bombings. While it was not the race organizers envisioned for the 20th Memorial Marathon, it can still be a race to remember!
To learn more about the virtual marathon go to https://okcmarathon.com/2020-memorial-marathon-goes-virtual/
OKC Museum of Art Ghost Ball
For the first time in its 45 years, the OKCMOA’s Renaissance Ball was canceled. The Renaissance Ball is the largest fundraiser for the museum, so organizers knew they couldn’t just cancel it. Instead, they created the 2020 Ghost Ball. Guests will receive a “ball-in-a-box” that contains wine, desserts and other surprises. This Ghost Ball is extremely important to the OKCMOA as it helps provide exhibitions, community outreach and educational programs throughout the coming year. Donations start at $750, and 100% percent of donations will go back into the museum.
To learn more about the Ghost Ball or donate go to https://www.okcmoa.com/visit/events/renaissance-ball/
UK Sam Fender Concert
The first socially distanced concert was held in the UK this month. Sam Fender performed to about 2,500 fans at a new outdoor concert venue, The Virgin Money Unit Arena. The arena has around 500 raised metal platforms that can hold up to five people. The venue strictly enforces social distancing from the moment you arrive. Cars are parked two meters apart, and fans are guided to their private platforms where they can order food for delivery. It is unsure when we can go back to concerts jammed pack with people dancing and singing in each other’s faces, but for now, this will have to become a new normal. It is a creative way to continue concerts during the pandemic, and hopefully, more artists will adapt to this style to allow fans to enjoy their music live.
For many, being stuck at Disney would be a dream. The NBA season abruptly ended on March 11th due to COVID-19. It didn’t return until July 30th, but it wasn’t the same. The NBA agreed to return if teams lived, practiced, and played in the same area. And thus, the NBA “bubble” was formed. In efforts to control the spread of the virus, the NBA’s goal was to limit the teams’ outside exposure, and if there was an outbreak, they could easily control it. If you haven’t watched a game yet, it’s strange. The teams you grew up cheering on are now playing in empty stadiums. In efforts to replace fans, the NBA has displayed virtual fans in the front rows, but it gives a feeling of uneasiness more than familiarity. It makes you wonder if this is the future of all sports. Will we have to cheer on our favorite teams from the comfort of our homes. Will professional sports players be expected to leave their homes and families for months to play? Like the marathon or concert, there is so much unknown, and organizers are trying their best to create a response to COVID-19. It will be interesting to see what other events will have a creative response to the pandemic.