Ah, 2020, the era of motivation in the face of chaos. Empty pitches, masked players, and what feels like a great deal more than 6 degrees of separation. With the succession of lockdowns and tier systems, this year has been a bumpy one, to say the least, and for any sportsperson, casual or competitive, it’s been one massive blow after another.
One of the vital organs of the sports world is the connection it brings us. I want to be on that track, floodlights pounding down, ears hushed, but eyes and mind racing all before the gun blasts us off more than anything. But I also can’t wait to be in that crowd of supporters yelling for my team, and on the sidelines ready with the pep talks and back-pats, knowing full well my teammates got this one in the bag. I even miss the semi-hostile chats with the opposition before it was game on. I'm one of the lucky ones who doesn’t rely on a team per se to carry out my training sessions, so I can’t fully picture the loss any team sport player is feeling right now. But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss it, with my whole heart.
That moment of a good training session and laughing afterward feels like the inevitable finish to this whole mess for me; once I can get back to that, these nightmarish few months will be completely erased. Up and down the country, one of the most volatile responses was over the footy being cancelled - and you don’t even get to play in that one. Sport is a much wider community, and in many ways, a support network too, and the socially distanced framework has forced us to realise this more than ever before.
To touch back on my initial point, motivation really has been key to coping with this entire charade. As any athlete knows not being able to train and engage with sports is a major stress-reliever for all life has to throw at us, so it seems a little more than off balance when the worries of global ruin are on your mind without this avenue of release. Lack of sport in any capacity has a profound impact on your schedule: sleep, work, and socialising all seem to merge and not fit together so well anymore. I find it much harder to go about my day, and training by myself suddenly feels genuinely lonely instead of some needed me time. When I finally get the motivation to go out and run, the streets are invaded with mask after mask as I weave in and out between the road and path to maintain social distance. Everything feels off-kilter, and a small part of you would rather have stayed at home, locked away from it all.
Oh sport, I truly can’t seem to live without you. Please, come back to us soon x
Featured image: Twitter@NUFC