Timely lesson from COVID-19


Timely lesson from COVID-19

Saturday, March 21, 2020

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In sport, as in every other aspect of life, COVID-19 has everyone desperately asking 'what next?' or 'where do we go from here?'.

Apart from coordinated and concerted human efforts to flatten the curve and significantly reduce the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus, there is the whispered hope that the upcoming Northern Hemisphere's summer months will be decisive in ending the flu-like pandemic.

Perhaps that latter hope is part of the reason Olympic Games organisers are insisting that plans remain in place for Tokyo, Japan, this summer.

Their optimism notwithstanding, we are sure organisers have their contingency plans to possibly include delay — even until next year if that's what's required.

Many other sporting disciplines are similarly affected.

Cricket's annual Indian Premier League, a huge money spinner which was originally set to begin on March 29, was pushed back to mid-April and now seems in real danger of being cancelled.

The scheduled West Indies Test tour of England set for June will almost certainly not take place at that time. Such is the loaded schedule of international cricket that there is no clear window of when such a tour could take place, though there has been talk of September, which is late in the year for cricket in England.

In football, organisers of Euro 2020 have acted decisively in postponing the tournament to 2021, thereby protecting the schedule for Europe's highly lucrative professional club leagues.

For sports lovers — not least those who like to relax at home and watch their favourite events on television — all of this is frustrating to the point of distraction.

But think of the competitors who have worked, made huge sacrifices, driving themselves to the edge to ensure they are physically ready, who are now in a state of limbo. For them, all of this must be pure torture.

Yet, it can't be helped. Until the authorities determine it is safe to lift the lockdown, all in sport, as in every other endeavour, are left with no choice but to endure.

The times also require that each person does his/her part for the greater good of all. Never has there been greater need for unselfishness and good neighbourliness.

It is also a time for administrators/organisers to think creatively.

For example, we believe the suggestion by St Elizabeth Technical High School coach Mr Reynaldo Walcott that final-year high school students, including athletes, be given an additional year in school for study and competition is worth consideration.

Arguing that those in final year who will be most acutely affected by the COVID-19 fallout are at risk of entering the outside world ill-equipped and at an extreme disadvantage, Mr Walcott notes that “nothing is wrong with them staying back [in school for an additional year] except the rules that we made ourselves”.

Mr Walcott's suggestion should not be ignored, though we recognise that infrastructural and capacity limitations in schools mean it's not straightforward.

The bottom line is that rules, regulations, and policies should be in the best interest of the people they are meant to serve at any particular point in time.

COVID-19 is teaching all of us that some things we had taken for granted as being best for all must now be reconsidered.

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