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“Sports the true religion of America”
eli cranor
Syndicated sports columnist Eli Cranor

Dear Athletic Support: Sports used to be a HUGE part of my life. I watched sporting events almost every night. I was actually watching an NBA game when they interviewed Mark Cuban and he said he was canceling the rest of the Dallas Mavericks’ season. All sports were gone shortly after that, and surprisingly, I didn’t miss them that much. I went all summer without baseball, and now it’s back, but wow — it’s different. They have cardboard cutouts in the stands. There’s crowd noise pumped in like it’s all a game show. Obviously, this isn’t my daddy’s baseball, but I fear sports will be forever changed after all this mess is done. Maybe this is a good thing? Have you heard other readers expressing the same sentiment? — Sport(less)

Dear Sport(less): I heard somebody say once that sports were the true religion of America. A thousand years from now, Fenway Park, Lambeau Field, and “Jerry’s World” (AT&T Stadium) will be our longstanding monuments. Our distant descendants will look upon these relics with awe, imaging a time and place where that many people could be together at one time, cheering on the home team. 

I don’t know if things will ever go back to “normal.” Anyone who studies history will tell you the only constant is change. If this really is the end of an era, my greatest fear isn’t so much about what lies ahead of us, but instead, what we’ve left behind. 

Dear Athletic Support: I’m different from most of the other people who write into your column. I’m seventeen! I know you usually answer questions from parents, but I’m hoping you’ll hear me out. My question is simple: Why don’t my parents come to my baseball games anymore? Before COVID hit, they were always in the bleachers. But all summer long, they’ve been avoiding the baseball diamond like the plague. It just doesn’t make sense. Why would they let me play but not come to my games? — Writing In Secret 

Dear  Secret: You’re the first teenager to write in to “Athletic Support,” and for that, I thank you! In regard to your question, I honestly have no idea why your parents would let you play in a baseball league all summer long but refuse to come to your games. From a medical standpoint, it doesn’t make much sense. Any exposure you’re getting in the dugout is likely transmitted to them when you come home. 

It was a big — and brave — first step to reach out to me, but you need to talk to your parents about this. 

Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. Send questions for “Athletic Support” to

Dear Athletic Support: My daughter started playing volleyball in fifth grade. There’s no telling how many hours she’s spent practicing with the school, not to mention her private coaches. And now, after all that, she wants to quit. She says it’s because her friends are saying there won’t even be a season this year due to COVID. But I still don’t think that’s reason enough to quit. What do you think? — Sad To See Her Go


Dear Sad: If I had to guess, I’d say your daughter doesn’t really want to quit volleyball. She’s probably just scared and confused, like so many of us right now. If she quits, it’s simple — there’s no more volleyball. In her mind this might be easier than playing the back-and-forth game that’s sure to come this fall. 


There’s no right answer here. There’s only hope. If your daughter loves volleyball, the only way she’s going to get to play is by sticking it out. 


Eli Cranor is a former professional quarterback and coach turned award-winning author. Send questions for “Athletic Support” to or use the contact page on 

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