Drew Pittman, associate director of event management and facilities at Baylor University, remarked during a recent interview (Page 20) how quickly the athletics industry has adapted to the current pandemic. Facilities and event operators are developing and implementing protocols that very well may be permanent and make for a safer experience for fans and athletes alike. "Recovery starts just as soon as a response is initiated," Pittman told me, and it struck me that whether or not sports are canceled this Fall, we can all take solace in the fact that we have indeed entered recovery mode.
The past few issues of Athletic Business have been assembled and delivered in an environment of uncertainty. This one is really no different, coming as schools deliberate over how best to proceed with instruction, and fall sports at the high school and college levels are perilously close to being postponed or canceled altogether.
As dire as things may seem right now, I hope everyone in the athletics, fitness and recreation industries takes stock in the admittedly hard but valuable lessons being learned right now.
Coaches are learning to counsel athletes through challenges happening off the field and court. College rec professionals are developing and implementing unique ways to keep students safe and help them maintain a sense of community during extraordinary times. Fitness club owners are learning new strategies for interacting with customers, while simultaneously implementing technologies that will help their members stay fit no matter where they are.
It would be a shame to dismiss these difficult lessons as only applying to our current situation. In actuality, they are part of our industries' recovery, and everyone — coaches, athletes, administrators, facility operators — will reap the benefits of coming together to weather this storm.
This article originally appeared in the September 2020 issue of Athletic Business with the title "Lessons learned." Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.