COLUMBUS (WCMH) — On Sunday afternoon sports fans gathered at patios across Ohio to watch the return of live golf and the NASCAR season.
Many said it was a perfect combination: fresh air, seeing people face to face, and once again the ability to use sports as a brief escape.
“It’s nice to just see anything on TV – soccer in Germany yesterday. Empty stadiums, but I’ll take it,” said Isaac Smith, a sports fan who got up early with some friends on a Sunday to get in a round of golf before going to home to watch the pros. “We are excited to get back to watching anything, really. Just like to see good golfers instead of myself.”
“I had no idea how much I watched sports at home until I had nothing,” said Krissy Austin, the head golf pro at the Golf Club of Dublin. “I think so many people, that’s a part of their life, whether it be your favorite football team, favorite college sport, favorite whatever. It’s just a feeling of normalcy and I think everybody is a little bit ready for some of that right now.”
Golf fans weren’t the only ones with some fresh competition to watch as NASCAR moved from its virtual racing back into the cars for “The Real Heroes 400” at Darlington.
In New Albany, fans went to the patio at The Goat to sit outside, have some refreshments, and finally get the distraction that’s been missing.
“Everything is kinda opening back up you know with social distancing,” said Cameron Trott, who came out to The Goat’s patio with his friend Trace Kelly, a fellow NASCAR fan. “Figured we would come out here, have a few beers, watch the race and enjoy the day.”
“It’s nice, we’re happy to have NASCAR back or just a sport in general, really,” said Kelly.
Austin said she hopes that sports getting back underway will encourage people to get out to restaurants, bar patios and, in her case, golf courses.
“Golf on TV is just going to get the bug going again, so yeah, I’m looking forward to it,” she said. “I think everybody is excited to get back outside. I mean everybody has been cooped up long enough and I hope everybody feels safe enough to come out and see us here.”