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Saturday, September 18, 2021

Attending sporting events safely is clearly possible

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If you’re like me, the pandemic scared you. It made us take a bit of an inventory on what’s important and what we can actually live without if forced to forgo sports continuously.

Like millions in our country, I mourned the fact that we couldn’t attend a live sporting event, and while adapting to it, I was constantly thinking about when a hot dog could be consumed in the stands at a baseball game or watch IndyCars blast by me from the media center deck at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS).

Now with vaccinations administered and restrictions slowly lifting, the question remains: Is it safe to attend sporting events? That answer is yes, but only if one takes the sensible and highly necessary precautions that will ensure your continual good health.

Before you ask me to come down from the environmental pulpit and quit preaching about precautionary measures you can take, just remember that it’s your responsibility, and not the venues providing our beloved sporting events, to protect yourself from the avoidable risks associated with congregating once again.

It’s really easy if you simply take the time to plan your outing and enjoy the triumphant return of your favorite sport. For instance, ask the box office to isolate you as much as possible when purchasing your tickets and enjoy the extra elbow room that’s generally available in the cheap seats. I still think a mask is in order, but if you insist on not wearing one, give others their space as you root for the Indianapolis Indians at their picturesque ballpark.

Catching an Indy Fuel or Indiana Fever game at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum is no problem either. Tickets are readily available, and there’s plenty of room to spread out, so go for it. Again, ask the box office what game they have the most tickets for and plan your trip wisely. By the way, their concession prices are family friendly, and they always have special discount nights, so it’s easy to save money and enjoy a safe environment as well.

While there’s not another IndyCar race at IMS until August, when they’ll share the stage with NASCAR on the road course, there are plenty of small tracks offering bread-and-butter-type racing throughout the state. The newly opened Circle City Speedway, located on Troy Avenue at the Marion County Fairgrounds, offers some great dirt track racing, and the mask I still wear for COVID-19 comes in handy for keeping my respiratory system free of the dust the cars inevitably will kick up.

Whether it’s any of the aforementioned or simply attending a Little League baseball game to cheer on your children, get out there and enjoy the sporting event of your choice. Just ease into it and be smart, as I’d hate to hear about any of you out there who email me from time to time telling me how wrong I am about sports getting sick.

The pandemic isn’t over, but things are clearly loosening up, and sports are indeed back, so go out and enjoy them safely.

Around the Horn: While attending a sponsor announcement for the August IndyCar-NASCAR event recently at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Roger Penske told a group of us gathered that he wants to raise the profile of IMS even further. The man never rests when it comes to improving the product, and as a racing purist, I’m so glad he continues to take the hands-on approach that has served him so brilliantly in all his business endeavors. Thank you, sir.

A brief chance encounter with Pacers President Kevin Pritchard on race day at IMS was both congenial and somewhat interesting. No, l did not ask him about Nate Bjorkgren, but he did say the Pacers will be better next year. Little did we know, Bjorkgren would be dismissed shortly after our conversation.

Colts training camp is just around the corner, and yes, they will allow a limited numbers of fans to observe practices on certain days. Go to Colts.com for specific details on how you can attend at Grand Park in Westfield.

Danny Bridges, who has always enjoyed the extra elbow room one can create at a sporting event, can be reached at 317-370-8447 or at bridgeshd@aol.com.

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