NASCAR’s plan for 7 races in 11 days is a glimpse at what’s to come in sports

For a brief moment, as NASCAR announced its imminent, flurried and action-laden restart on Thursday, it seemed like it might be overdoing it.

Seven races in 11 days, beginning on May 17, four of them in the Cup Series. Too much of a good thing, perhaps?

Nope, not even close.

As sports takes its tentative initial steps back towards active competition, the concept of too much no longer exists. We have been without sports, essentially, for nearly eight weeks, a barren period in athletics of unparalleled precedent.

It is time to play catch up, and while NASCAR is leading the opening surge with Cup doubleheaders at Darlington Raceway and Charlotte Motor Speedway, it won’t be alone.

When sports gets back into full flow, the appetite will be like nothing we have seen before. We are hungry already, as evidenced by the swell of interest in not just the NFL Draft but every minute part of it, from office décor to family dogs to Roger Goodell’s attire.

And by the fact that the few remaining things to watch, like Nicaraguan soccer and Taiwanese baseball and yes, even marble racing, have never had so many viewers.

We like to see competition, and athletes crave to compete, which is why in NASCAR, even the virtual series of races was treated with utmost seriousness, barring a couple of unfortunate interruptions.

Truly though, we are ready for the real thing. And we are going to get a lot of it.

Forget for a while all of the traditions and customs of the sporting calendar that you have grown up with. It is going to be different.

With appropriate deference to the progression of the coronavirus and whatever restrictive measures remain, the strong likelihood is that the back end of this year could become extraordinarily laden with sports activity.

NASCAR is going to try to complete all 36 Cup series races, despite having lost two months to the shutdown. The Ultimate Fighting Championship has been battling to put on events throughout, and finally looks set to get one off the ground, with UFC 249 due to be held in Jacksonville next weekend. Not content with that, UFC president Dana White is planning on an opening burst of three events in a week and expects to roll out more shows with increased regularity.

In boxing, the barren calendar has left a number of intriguing fights waiting to be made and an appetite to schedule the biggest ones possible. Tyson Fury v. Anthony Joshua, a heavyweight scrap that would be a true blockbuster, is now reportedly in talks.

If and when the NBA returns, while concessions will be made for player health, don’t expect to see too many rest days. Major League Baseball remains in flux, but virtually every viable solution that has been mentioned in the media has involved the use of double-headers to make up for lost time.

In the closing months of this wild and tumultuous 2020, when the NFL is hopefully back underway, there will also be other events sandwiched in that typically take place at other times.

The French Open tennis tournament moved itself to September and October from its usual slot in the spring. Organizers of the Masters are seeking to stage golf’s grandest spectacle in mid-November.

There are going to be some packed weekends. Just when we are going to be wanting to get out of the house again, there will be all kinds of reasons to plunk ourselves in front of the television.

We are going to be busy. Sports was taken from us for all this time. Now, as administrators try to achieve the combined goals of restoring revenue and providing national entertainment, we are going to be bombarded with it.

There will be conflicts of timing, the need to channel surf at great speed and the real possibility that if we’re not careful, the whole day could go by and we’re still there, on the couch. Sports overload on a grand scale.

Here’s hoping.