Covid-19 crisis can help us find the balance between sport and downtime

Covid-19 crisis can help us find the balance between sport and downtime
A template to make the hurleys for former Kilkenny hurlers Tommy Walsh and Michael Fennelly at The Star Hurley makers in Jenkinstown. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

THESE are strange times.

I’d like to wish you and your families good health, while we work our way out of Covid-19. Regardless of your politic leanings, we can be extremely proud of our leaders and how they’ve handled this. 

When you compare our composed, professional, aware, and informative leaders, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Health Minister Simon Harris, Tanaiste Simon Coveney, and Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, to their counterparts in the US and the UK, we can be proud.

This crisis is new to everyone.

We’re living through history. Has it given us a new outlook on what’s important in life? I’ve certainly reached out to people, to check if they’re ok, that I haven’t contacted in a long time. Working from home, I have the radio on in the background and hearing stories of the wonderful, kind, generous, and thoughtful ways that people are helping others is truly uplifting.

Wasn’t that a nice idea from An Post, to give two postcards to post free to someone, just to let them know we’re thinking of them? Yes, we all have phones, but receiving a postcard will definitely put a smile on someone’s face.

I hope everyone availed of it. You can’t underestimate how such a small gesture could help someone. I’ve an aunt in a nursing home, and I know she’ll be proud and happy to receive the postcard I sent.

Life goes at such a fast pace for all of us, nowadays. I remember, years ago, thinking that the week between games was a lifetime. Now, the weeks seem to roll into days. I know that happens as you get older, anyway, but the pace of life had become unhealthy.

If only we could get the balance right.

Coronavirus shutdown: Fallow deer are seen grazing on the public pitches in the Phoenix Park in Dublin. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Coronavirus shutdown: Fallow deer are seen grazing on the public pitches in the Phoenix Park in Dublin. Picture: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Last weekend, I did some gardening in the sun, read a book, and had a glass of wine on the patio and I really enjoyed it. I suppose, I’d have enough of that after a while, too, but if we could just make more time for the more important things in life, wouldn’t it be great?

We’re a very close family anyway, but it’s great that everyone is now sitting down to dinner together every evening. There’s no rushing around and no dinners heated in microwaves. People are making more effort in preparing their food. To see my nieces and nephews put up photos of their culinary achievements on our family app group over the past week or two has been great craic.

Some had never even opened the oven before. But they’re just loving this. We’ve had banoffee pies, carmel slices, banana bread, cream sponges, and the ever-reliable queen cakes. No-one is delivering any to me, though!

Two weeks ago, we had to cancel a house party for my dad’s 80th and we also had to cancel a family holiday booked for the first week of May, when 30 of us were heading to the sun to celebrate my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary. It was the first time in 30 years that my father had agreed to fly. But for this, he was willing. It was a disappointment to have to cancel everything, but it’s nothing really. We can plan something in the future, when the virus has retreated, if we all stay safe. That’s the important thing.

As a country, we’ve become very materialistic. Not everyone, I’m sure, but the majority of us have. Will Covid-19 change that or will we all forget about this in a year and go back to the way we were?

Why shouldn’t we all wash our hands more often? Why shouldn’t we respect other people’s space a bit more?

Will we become more aware of that? We’re a ‘hugging’ type of people, so we’ll probably go back pretty quickly to that, but why not keep certain protocols every year during the flu season, for example. That could save lives, surely?

Alone, the support group for older people, received more than 5,500 calls to their Helpline — 1,100 last Saturday — after the new restrictions came into force at midnight on Friday.

I’ve signed up to volunteer with them. It’s something I considered before Covid-19, but, of course, never got around to.

For anyone that would like to do something similar, it’s simple enough to go online and apply.

You will be garda-vetted and that might take a while. But why don’t you make the decision today, instead of putting it on the long finger, as I did?

My heart goes out to those who have lost, or are losing, family members, either to Covid-19 or other illnesses, and who may have to limit their contact, their goodbyes, and have a funeral more or less behind closed doors. At a time when you need family and friends, you’re more or less on your own.

We miss the GAA and sport in general. I was really looking forward to the Olympics and Liverpool supporters are in fear that the Premiership won’t be played out.

But I’m sure it will and 2021 will be chockablock with sports, so that’s something to look forward to.

To everyone out there: make the sacrifice, stay at home, wash your hands, take care of yourself, take care of your families, and we’ll hopefully see you soon.

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