The NBA, The English Premier league, Sheffield Shield cricket, AFL, NRL, A-League, The Grand Prix, The French Open and the Olympic Games all cancelled, suspended or postponed. The COVID-19 virus has thrown the best of plans out the window for 2020. Sporting stars face months off the sport fielding and massive pay cuts. What to do when your plans go out the window?
You don’t have to be a professional athlete; almost everyone has had their plans thrown upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s some things professional athletes and the rest of us can do in these uncertain times.
Appreciate what you have
Steve Smith and David Warner were banned from cricket for twelve months and were slammed in the media for their involvement in a ball tampering saga. It was a horrific ordeal but they didn’t die, they weren’t imprisoned.
It was a tough period but they still had their freedom, they still had their families and they were even able to continue playing grade cricket. Many professional athletes are facing tough times but they should take time to appreciate what they still have rather than focus on what they’ve lost.
Try something new
Jobe Watson was the Captain of the Essendon Bombers when he and 33 other players were banned from the 2016 season for their participation in the clubs controversial supplement’s program. Jobe Watson responded to the ban in an unusual way; he took a barista’s course and flew overseas to work in a New York City cafe.
Watson enjoyed his year working in New York so much that after returning to play in the 2017 AFL season, he retired and returned to New York to continue his work as a barista. While working in New York Watson also met his partner with whom he now has a baby daughter. Professional athletes have some spare time on their hands; it might be time to try something new.
Prepare for post-career.
In 2003 Shane Warne was banned from cricket for 12 months for taking a banned diuretic. During his 12-month ban Warne worked as a cricket commentator. It’s a skill Warne would use greatly after his 2007 retirement.
In 1665 Isaac Newton was studying at Cambridge University when the University closed due an outbreak of the bubonic plague. The University was closed for two years and during this time Newton studied from home. It was during his time of self-isolation that Newtown formulated his theory of gravity.
It’s thought that William Shakespeare wrote King Lear and Macbeth in 1606 while theaters were closed due to plague. When Athletes return to the field; new stars will be made and what athletes do during this downtime will make a difference.
Steve Smith returned to test cricket and dominated the Ashes making hundreds in both innings. David Warner piled on the runs in the world cup and made 335 against Pakistan, his highest test score. Shane Warne returned to cricket in 2004 against the West Indies and was named player of the series. It’s possible for athletes to come back better than ever before.
The big picture.
The media often portray sporting matches like it’s a matter of life or death. Sporting success is often likened to immortal glory but this crisis shows the shallowness of that perspective.
Recently the Sydney Kings and Perth Wildcats were facing each other in the NBL playoffs. The Kings withdrew from the competition due to safety concerns. There was a back and forth argument over who should be crowned the champions.
Hundreds of thousands of people across the world are infected with COVID-19; many thousands have died and two basketball teams are arguing over a meaningless trophy. Trophies and awards pale into insignificance amid this present crisis. Athletes should remember the bigger picture.
Travis Barnes lives in central Victoria with his wife and two daughters. He is a contributor for Christian Today and a sportswriter.