The ongoing pandemic has brought the sporting world to a grinding halt. Never before have we witnessed a phase like this where not a single sporting event is taking place in any part of the world. Many big-ticket events like the Olympics and the Wimbledon that were supposed to take place in 2020 have been pushed back by a year. Several other tournaments have either been suspended or been pushed back indefinitely.
This is a major blow for sports fan and the industry in general. But what about the players? Many fans feel that this forced break might actually be a blessing in disguise for several athletes who play round the year. Cricketers, especially, have got perhaps the most hectic schedule and are playing literally every week of the year. A majority of them don’t even get to spend quality time with their families. Will being quarantined at home help them get the much-needed extended rest and recharge themselves?
The effect this break can have on players
Some experts believe that many athletes will actually feel anxious now with their careers put on hold. Paddy Upton, the former India mental conditioning and strategic leadership coach, says: “For athletes, there would be a range of experiences, from welcome relief for the established to anxiety and insecurity, both professionally and financially, for possibly a greater number.”
This is, in fact, quite true. Many players are used to being active and it would be difficult for them to cope with this prolonged break. There are several other young and fringe cricketers who were depending on tournaments like the Indian Premier League (IPL) to earn their livelihood. This break would have been a major blow to them. A number of athletes would also be concerned about their future. What if the break continues for long and they are not able to get back into top shape again? What happens then?
Then there are those for whom sports is the sole focus and purpose of their lives. They will suffer during this phase as they won’t have anything else to focus on. The worst thing is that they can’t even venture out and go the grounds with their trainers to train right now.
So is there a way out?
It will be important for athletes to ensure that they remain productive in this break. Those who can keep themselves active, physically and mentally, during this phase will come out better at the end of it. There will be many, though, who will end up suffering from depression and anxiety as the break continues. Right now, we have no idea when to expect any sporting action. It might be months before we actually get to see any sport event at all. Thus, it will be a challenge for players to keep themselves proactive and not rather sit and worry about the future.
Here’s hoping that this global pandemic subsides soon and we can have sports back the way we used to.