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In the age of social distancing, these Polish fans found an extreme way to watch their team

They say necessity is the mother of invention after all.

In the age of social distancing, these Polish fans found an extreme way to watch their team
[Photos: ABBPhoto/iStock, hxdbzxy/iStock]

Well this brings a new meaning to nosebleed seats.

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Fans of Motor Lublin, a speed racing team in Poland, rented manlifts so they could show their support in person while abiding by the country’s social distancing regulations, which limit crowds to 25% capacity at outdoor sports facilities.

Yahoo Sports reported that Motor Lublin fans pooled their money to rent 21 cranes for the race against GKM Grudziaz. It doesn’t appear to be the first time these fans have taken to the skies to cheer on their team; according to a Polish sports site, fans rented three lifts for the first race and nine for the second, before hitting 21 for the match last week.

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Professional sports across the globe have shuttered for much of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now that some, like Major League Baseball here in the United States, are reopening without fans, teams have had to come up with inventive solutions to reintroduce a sense of normalcy to empty stadiums. I mean, they’re called spectator sports for a reason, right?

Some attempts have been more successful than others. At one game, South Korean soccer club FC Seoul replaced fans with sex dolls. They were wearing masks, social distancing, and dressed in team colors. The “fans” also led to an apology from the team and a fine. In early May, the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium in Taiwan filled its seats with mannequins wearing wigs and holding signs, and seated 2D fan cutouts. Safe to say they didn’t do the wave.

The cardboard cut out trend has made its way to the U.S., too. Several teams are selling personalized cutouts, so fans can have their cardboard likenesses in the stands. LA Dodgers fans can even send a cut out of their dog. Fox Sports, meanwhile, plans to broadcast MLB games with thousands of “virtual fans”—it will even feed in audio during the game.

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The Poland example, however, is one of the first cases we’ve seen of a MacGyvered solution that allows real, live human beings to watch safely from a distance. In 2020, it seems sports fans will have to find a new way to play ball.

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About the author

Lilly Smith is an associate editor of Co.Design. She was previously the editor of Design Observer, and a contributing writer to AIGA Eye on Design.

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