A World Without Sport
It's funny how something that is such an integral part of our lives can just go missing. We're all used to turning on the TV or reading the paper about sports teams, trades, college rankings, injuries, outrageous contract agreements, and weekly rivalries. We're used to texting our friends when our team does better than theirs (or is that just me?). Then one day it all disappears overnight.
I'm a huge sports fan. I have my teams for different seasons and different countries. So there's never a down time. Baseball ending? No problem, there's cricket. Steelers didn't make the Super Bowl? No worries, there's AFL and AFLW in Australia. Go you Mighty Crows.
Sports is intergenerational. Children learn from their parents, peers, and schools the meanings, the aspirations. They build their bodies emulating their heroes. Even those who may not enjoy sports understand its meanings - for rivalries, school spirit, civic and country pride.
Young people learn the meaning of graceful winning and losing. Fair sportsmanship. What it feels like when you see cheating and just know it's wrong. What it feels like to leave it all in the paint. Those experiences carry over into adult life.
Adults relive their past glories. Enjoy the simple escape of a difficult work week by turning on the TV and watching sport. Their team. If it's off season, any team. Any sport.
Older adults enjoy the same, but also the camaraderie of the social club, whether it's Thursday Darts or the Bowls Club or even Bingo.
This may be the first time any of us now see no live sport whatsoever. Have no social club to visit. No team as second family to escape to. Not only does that affect personal health in isolation from our teams, our clubs and friends, but also losing the emotional escape and suspense of cheering for your team to win or lose. Of turning on the TV and seeing something, anything, live.
This too shall pass, but it is worth recognizing that right now it isn't the same., We need to allow ourselves to process it. For many, the reality of Covid-19 hit home when their home and away season was cancelled. Even though health experts sounded the alarm way before that.
So now's our chance to reach out to our friend with a rival team, uncle, auntie who is a rabid fan, nephew who was hoping to make the school team this year. Challenge them to a virtual game of cards. Competitive marble racing. Keep a tally. Make a friendly wager. Check in each week and yes, gloat if you are ahead. It's what sport is all about.