The coronavirus and sports don’t mix. Yes, defeating the coronavirus is more important than winning in sports, but it still does not sit well. Most people do not like a disruption in their life of this magnitude. The prolong postponement or worse yet, the cancellation of the rest of a sports season, is disheartening for athletes, parents, and coaches.
There were some teams at the high school level that were in the Final Four of high school basketball and then the season was cancelled. At the college level the only March Madness will be a lot of people being “mad” over the basketball season being cancelled just before the tournament was to begin. What about spring sports at the high school level? Many teams around the country were excited about the competitive season just about to begin. The players and coaches had bonded together through the practices of pre-season before the shut down.
Jim Taylor is a well-regarded sport psychologist and expert on parenting (www.drjimtaylor.com). He stated that “crisis create unfamiliarity, unpredictability, uncertainty, ambiguity, discomfort, and, most difficult, a loss of control.” And I’d add plenty of boredom and potentially a financial burden for many people that are displaced from jobs. The latter puts the loss of sports in perspective.
In a recent blog post by Jim Taylor, he quoted the noted psychiatrist, Victor Frankl, who observed, “Between stimulus and response there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” This reminds me of the old adage of more important than what happens to you is how you respond to it.
We are currently in the midst of a “new normal.” How long this “new normal” lasts is part of the uncertainty, discomfort, and is out of our control to a large extent. There are certain precautions we can take like washing our hands more regularly, not touching our face with regularity, and honoring social distancing. We can take precautions but we cannot eliminate all of the risk. This could be a good opportunity to tackle home projects that many of us continually put off. You can set up a home exercise program, practice your sport with limitations, read a book (really?), or search the internet for self-improvement advice. You can still interact with friends via social media or make a phone call if you are over 40 years old!
I told the boys tennis team I coach you cannot eliminate all of the risk in your world. You need to decide how much risk you are willing to accept. Otherwise, never get in an automobile again. This coronavirus is more than a formidable foe. If we can work together and respect each other during this fight, we stand a better chance to get out of it sooner than later. Live life smartly. And remember, teamwork and sacrifice are important on and off the athletic field.