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Two rare cancellations in the world of sports

Sweet(s) Talk

As both local and national prevention measures are being taken in regards to the spread of COVID-19, two more longtime sporting events are feeling the effects. Nationally, the world renowned Indianapolis 500, postponed its 104th running of the race from Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, May 24, to Sunday Aug. 23, the first outright rescheduling in the races nearly 110 year history. The Indianapolis 500 began in 1911 but did not run in 1917, 1918, and from 1941-45 because of World Wars I and II. Motorsports titan Roger Penske, who finalized his purchase of the IndyCar series and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier this year, felt the health and safety of the event, its participants and fans, needed to be a top priority.

Locally, the 40th annual Norway Spring Classic run/walk race has been cancelled for the first time ever. Current race director Tony Adams of Quinnesec felt it was the right thing to do. Former race director and Norway-Vulcan Schools teacher Bill Van Wolvelaere, who helped organize the inaugural event in 1981, as NHS’s longtime Key Club advisor, confirmed to me that this is the first ever outright cancellation or postponement of the race. Van Wolvelaere noted that one year, the night before the race, it snowed approximately two inches. A passing thought was given to cancelling the event, but it wasn’t. “By 10 am, it was sunny and the snow was melting, we made the right decision,” said Van Wolvelaere. Considering how here in Michigan we have a stay- at-home order in place from our governor, and the INDY 500 draws hundreds of thousands of fans to the Indianapolis area annually, it’s a no brainer to follow suit and do what is needed to be done. …

The Major League Baseball regular season was scheduled to begin two days ago. Opening Day is a highly anticipated event in every city with a MLB franchise, as well as being highly anticipated to baseball fans as a right of passage. A right of passage that winter is behind us and before we know it, it’ll be comfortable enough outdoors for the entire country to enjoy and appreciate “America’s Pastime.” The sights … the sounds … the smells and the excitement that can often be found inside of a MLB stadium, is second to none when you add late spring and summer weather to the equation. But of course, same old story, the season and the undetermined remainder of Spring Training is on hold, due to COVID-19 concerns. My Milwaukee Brewers would have hosted the Chicago Cubs in an afternoon contest for the opener, with night games tonight and an ESPN Sunday Night Baseball contest. There is one thing that gives a silver lining to this specific situation; at least the Brewers fans, Miller Park staff and security don’t have to endure the visiting fans for the weekend, some acting like they own the place, which is a very common occurrence for Cubs fans unfortunately. Such a sad state of affairs in itself. …

Pictured on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Super Bowl LIV edition, were nine of the 10 men who were named Super Bowl MVP, in the previous 10 Super Bowls that were played in Miami, as this year’s big game was also held in the south Florida city. 49ers’ Jerry Rice and Steve Young, Colts QB Peyton Manning, Saints QB Drew Brees, Jets QB Joe Namath, Steelers’ Lynn Swan and Terry Bradshaw, Broncos QB John Elway and Cowboys linebacker Chuck Howley were the aforementioned nine MVPs. The10th and unpictured individual, was bestowed the honor in the first Super Bowl played in Miami. Super Bowl II on Jan. 14, 1968, was played at the Orange Bowl Stadium and was won by the Green Bay Packers 33-14, defeating the Oakland Raiders. The SB II MVP award was given to Super Bowl I MVP, Packers quarterback Bart Starr. The Hall of Fame Green Bay signal caller passed away on May 26, 2019, in Birmingham, Alabama, at the age of 85. Starr was known throughout the sports world, the NFL and the state of Wisconsin, to be as classy and genuine of a person that has ever walked the planet. He’d have been proud to be included in such a picture with the other nine men; yes, even Terry Bradshaw despite the silly demeanor he displays on FOX NFL Sunday and in his television commercials. …

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