Christmas in July has been the hackneyed rallying cry of mattress salesmen to get you to buy their wares for as long as I can remember. Associating the revered holiday with mattresses was pretty clever dozens of years ago, but now it falls flat. It’s hot out, we got robbed of our spring and summer isn’t looking too good either. Is that mattress on sale enough to move the needle? Christmas in July is anything but.

Until now.

This year, Christmas is coming at the end of July and thy name is SPORTS.

This shouldn’t be news to you since you haven’t been living under a rock. Well, you may have been confined to your home for the last few months, but if you’re reading this, chances are you’re well aware that real, live American sports are on their way back to your eyeballs very soon.

You may not be able to be in the crowd, breathing on your fellow fans while your favorite team vies for a somewhat unorthodox championship, but you can do all those things in the privacy or your own home. Or, if things continue on the path of recovery, in a sports bar with a select few, carefully spaced fans. No high-hiving or french kissing when someone scores though.

The NBA is set to resume on July 31st, with the NHL following closely behind with its own brief return to play before a real playoffs take place to determine a 2020 champ. Even baseball might get in on the act and start even earlier than either of them. If so, Christmas will have literally come early this year.

So what can go wrong? Just about everything.

Believe it or not, but we’re still smack dab in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic and despite what non-mask wearing revelers may have you believe, the virus is alive and well and picking back up where it left off in the early spring.

The good news for us in Colorado is we’ve kept it at bay and have even had a decrease in cases recently. Let’s keep it that way. The bad news (despite the very scary health risks) is the places they intend to play these games are not doing well with managing the virus.

Orlando, home to the NBA return to play, is literally and figuratively right in the middle of Florida’s Coronavirus increase in cases.

Las Vegas, one of the proposed hub cities for the NHL’s version of return to play, is also seeing a spike in its home state of Nevada.

I’m speaking selfishlessly as a sports fan here, knowing full well that lives are continually at risk, but what happens if things get out of control when the games are going on? Do they shut it down and call it good until next year? That is a real possibility and could make all of these great plans crash and burn rather quickly.

The respective leagues are probably more than aware of this and plan to keep close tabs on the players’ health, but throwing these guys into some Coronavirus hotspots seems like it could be disastrous in more ways than one.

Germany and Korea have had live sports (with no spectators) for several weeks now and there really hasn’t been too much talk about players getting sick. But these were also countries that managed the virus well.

We’ve handled the virus like someone seeing a Rockies closer come in up two runs in eighth and saying “Welp, this is over. Time for bed.” and shutting the TV off. It would be truly awful for all of these players to come back this far just to get shut down again. Awful for them and disappointing for us the fans who, at this point, probably need it as much as the players do.

Still we have to stay positive and hope everything works out: in the sports world and the real world because that would obviously be the best for everyone.

If it truly will be a Christmas in July, we’re just about at Thanksgiving, so get your decorations down from the attic and clear a space on the mantle for milk and cookies. SPORTS are coming down that chimney.

Let’s hope they don’t get stuck.