Your favorite team might not be playing this weekend after all, but focusing on the gloom and doom will get you nowhere.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Andy Dieckhoff is the sports editor for the Madras Pioneer and Central Oregonian.Thanks to yet another new variant, COVID-19 still has a vice grip on the future of sports in America.

We have come a long way since the term "COVID" became a staple of our national vocabulary. Entire seasons are not being canceled — at least not to this point.

However, it is easy to get caught up in a sense of doom and gloom these days when you check ESPN or Twitter to see the latest news:

Maybe your favorite player has newly entered health and safety protocols.

Or maybe your favorite team has had a full week of games postponed because of COVID-19 issues.

Just this week, Boise State's football team ended up withdrawing from the Arizona Bowl because it would not have enough players to field a team. The Sun Bowl had a similar situation arise when Miami (Florida) was forced to pull out of the bowl game due to an outbreak on the team.

In a stroke of last-minute maneuvering that has become a recurring theme in sports, the two remaining healthy teams from those bowl games — Central Michigan and Washington State — will now face each other in the Sun Bowl.

The same issues have led to a spate of canceled games in college basketball, too. While the football season was mostly over before the new variant took hold, hoops is only just getting started.

However, in just the past month, more than 50 Division I programs on the men's side have entered health and safety protocols at least once this season.

Pro sports have been hit, too, with top stars in the NBA and NFL missing games due to the virus. The Brooklyn Nets, for example, have had to cancel multiple games due to a lack of available players.

That said, as frustrating as it all may be, there's little to be gained from constant worry and/or griping about policies. As we ring in the New Year — maybe with games, maybe without — try not to get too worked up over circumstances that you can't control.

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