Coronavirus: how sport is helping us keep calm

Sunday March 29 2020

Lugogo Sports Complex which is a haven

Lugogo Sports Complex which is a haven of sporting activities has been forced into a slumber by the Coronavirus pandemic. PHOTO BY EDDIE CHICCO 

By Robert Madoi

As the world continues to sit in the crosscurrents of Covid-19, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the effects of this devastating strain of coronavirus may drag on for longer than we have yet grasped.

Just a few months back, the virus felt and certainly looked like a Chinese rather than global problem.
Not anymore! There is the shared experience of a cloud of death hovering rather menacingly over our heads.

For global club football, this must sound eerily familiar. There was a time big bucks created a contraflow with leading lights like Oscar and Hulk swapping the supposed comforts of Europe for the obscurity in China. The repugnant transfer fees were at the time dismissed as a ‘Chinese problem.’ They were the exception rather than norm. Yet it did not take long for European clubs to start splashing similar astronomical figures.

The parallels do not stop there. It goes without saying that the Covid-19 crisis is shaping up to be such an enormous stress test for world leaders. The crisis has exposed countries to the sharp end of globalisation.

Borders have consequently returned with a vengeance as countries labour mightily to flatten the pandemic’s curve.

It is almost inconceivable to think that such barriers will not be lifted once the pandemic passes. For now, though, that seems a long way off. Its feet are firmly planted in the future. The here and now rests entirely on the spurious concepts of fear and hope. In these desperate times, the search for a triumphant narrative leads one to the doorstep of global sport.

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Role of sport
Though hardly an unmitigated triumph, sport always teaches us how best to deal with the polar opposites of fear and hope.

Teams and indeed sporting personalities at the frontline tend to create the chaotic mix of peril and promise that is currently attributable to Covid-19. Sport has the tendency of swinging from triumphalism to gloom almost in a heartbeat. It fills us with inexpressible anguish and terror, the kind of which we are experiencing now because of Covid-19.

Above all, sport teaches us that there is beauty and reward in getting up once we fall. As we batten down the hatches in the wake of the pandemic, hope that springs eternal in your average sports fan could be the antidote that the doctor ordered.
The way a seasoned pro manages the clock could be what we need to mirror as we await a Covid-19 vaccine.

Patience will undoubtedly be key. As the pandemic knocks the world sideways, sports personalities have made a vital impression getting out messages of prevention.

Footballers have for instance shared some of their goals scored from long distance to instantiate the concept of social distancing.
Others have showed how those self-isolating can help remain sane and in shape. It is after all no different from the lonely experience of working oneself back to fitness after an injury setback.
These might be small and seemingly inconsequential steps, but their sum total could well help us stop tailspinning into chaos. Stay safe out there, dear reader.

What we now know....

We know the current coronavirus outbreak has upset the delicate balance between sports and economics.
With no action to take part in, sporting teams across different disciplines have found it terribly difficult to balance the ledger.
We know that pay cuts have been taken as entities seek to remain profitable.
Pay cuts
There has been a lot of good in this as, far from scaling down operations, the pay cuts have allowed clubs to maintain their nonessential staff.

rmadoi@ntv.co.ug

@robertmadoi

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