Safety first: Why UAAP’s postponement of sports events makes sense

Less than 36 hours before the much-anticipated opening weekend, the local volleyball community was hit by news that UAAP has decided to postpone all sports events of the ongoing Season 82.

In a released statement on Wednesday, UAAP bared that all events for the second semester of the season will not push through until further notice in light with the novel coronavirus.

Included in the list of affected sports are the men’s and women’s volleyball tournaments which were supposed to fire off on Saturday.

It was tipped to be a colossal opening weekend.

For the first time in league history, UAAP will roll out its newest schedule scheme wherein men’s and women’s games will be played alternately.

The collegiate tournament is also set to use the Philippine SuperLiga-owned video challenge system for improved officiating.

The cherry on top, of course, is the clash between arch-rivals UST Golden Tigresses and FEU Lady Tamaraws on Saturday and the Sunday duel between DLSU Lady Spikers and Ateneo Lady Eagles.

But alas, the events will be resumed and opened at a later date as a precaution to the 2019-nCoV outbreak.

As expected, fans were dismayed with the development.

Some openly expressed their disappointment as their eight-month-long wait will be extended before they see their favorite collegiate squads in action anew.

Some said it was not a good move for UAAP as Mall of Asia Arena, the venue for the weekend action, has been taking strict precautionary measures ever since the virus’ outbreak.

This, in the wake of South Korean boy group Seventeen’s recently-held concert at the venue, where concertgoers underwent thermal inspection and were sprayed with alcohol as precautions before being allowed entry.

One even said that the games should’ve been played as originally scheduled with or without an audience in the venue since there will be live broadcast anyways.

It’s a normal human reaction to be disheartened by development as momentum-stopping as this. But fans could instead look at the brighter side of things.

While some may not agree with the postponement, the UAAP Board is right to listen. The league did the right thing of putting the community’s safety as a top priority.

For one, the delay could mean extended preparation time for the teams. As they wait for the resumption of the tournament, they could use the extra time to work on their craft and condition themselves even more.

The UAAP abided the advisories of the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education and Department of Health. The three government agencies have advised the general public to ‘avoid attending, participating in, and organizing events that draw a huge number of attendees’.

In fact, some schools in Metro Manila including St. Paul College Pasig and the University of the East suspended some of their classes last Friday in compliance with the guidelines.

One offshore business process outsourcing and contact center company is even reportedly using thermal scanners to its employees. Those suspected with higher body temperature are asked to take a day off.

The nCoV threat is real.

Yes, there is no confirmed local transmission yet but no, it doesn’t make the virus less threatening and it shouldn’t make the people less cautious.

Think about the coaches and athletes. Sure, they’re bummed, too, but certainly, they are taking this development positively, not letting this sidetrack them and their visions.

In times like this, people have to make choices quickly. And when making choices, it is always important to choose the path that will not require you to sacrifice protection for entertainment.

As the old saying goes: safety first.