Dear Sports Leagues in Nicaragua:

I really love you and have enjoyed your sports scene, especially your rich baseball culture, for decades. As a Mexican, I feel a strong connection with your people and your athletes. You are a close part of my Latinx family. And like every concerning family member, I ask you, I implore you, to step up, do the right thing, and stop playing for now.

Really, I don’t get it. What are your Baseball and Soccer leagues still going? All of your players, and most importantly, your fans, are at risk.

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is already the biggest health emergency of our times. It has already taken away thousands of human lives from essentially all regions in the world in the last five months, and Governments have responded in different ways. Most States have closed ports and airports to International travel, and some even instated curfews that are punished with expensive fines or even prison. And with no end in sight, we may resort to more drastic measures.

But this is not the case with Nicaragua. You’re already in the middle of a period of political instability. President Daniel Ortega, who’s under fire for Dictatorial tendencies, was recently denounced before the OMS by his opposition for his lack of action. The fact that your President and his family have total control of the country’s media, and they’re saying next to nothing in response to the virus, is gonna make matters worse.

And believe me, it is gonna get worse. We haven’t even seen the beginning of the truly hard part. Italy failed to learn the lessons from China, Spain failed to learn the lessons from Italy, the United States failed to even acknowledge the depth of the emergency, and these mistakes have cost over ten thousand lives in these countries alone, and still counting. In Mexico, we also have a stubborn President that didn’t take this seriously, but he’s finally changed course. Our Public Health system, even with budget issues, is doing a remarkable job. And yet we’re still preparing for the worse. Your leaders haven’t. But you, dear Sports Leagues, can.

Your soccer league has the dubious honor of being one of the 5 national competitions that are yet to suspend activities. You’re in the same box as Lukashenko’s Belarus. He’s a right-wing nutjob, and his de facto Dictatorship is exposing more people to this threat. But that doesn’t have to happen in Nicaragua. You can step up. You must step up. Sports leagues in Europa and America suspended activities, and it truly helped, making this moment a little less of a freaking nightmare. It’s your turn to take one for the team.

And yes, I know, I know, we need Sports. We need something to watch, to be excited about, to keep us sane from the lockdown. I know we’re gonna miss you. But for now, we prefer to not die. We prefer to wait, as long as it takes, for things to get back to normal. We don’t know if things will ever be normal again, but at least we can wait until this is manageable.

This doomsday disease kills. It will kill more Mexicans and it will kill Nicaraguans. We gotta work together to make that amount of casualties as little as possible, and we definitely can do that. It takes discipline, commitment, and leadership. And right now, it has to take your Leadership. I trust that you will do the right thing.

And don’t worry: If things go well, we’ll be here for you when it all clears out. We will watch the games, we will go to the Stadiums, and we’ll celebrate with extraordinary excitement every time our teams score. It’s gonna be a big party, I swear. Because we love you and we need you. And because we trust you to respond and to take care of us when things go truly bad. Vamos Nicaragua.

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Manzanares De La Rosa

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