THIS is what it’s like. This is life without sport. I’m not a fan. Granted, I have more than a vested interest given my profession. It’s like a snowman saying he doesn’t like the sun. Who knows how long this will last, but here’s a quick guide on how to survive without live sport.
Read The Southern Star sports section – Well done, you’ve already taken the first step to address this problem. You need to stay informed about what’s going on locally and this is where the Star excels. Always has, always will. Okay, we have no live sport, but that’s a challenge we’re embracing. We’ll keep you entertained until the live action returns. Listen and subscribe to the Star Sport Podcast too, we’ve upped it to two per week for the next few weeks.
Learn to bake like Orla Cronin – The Enniskeane woman is full of surprises. I asked Orla for her Netflix recommendations and she came back with her healthy banana bread recipe. It’s like asking for a globe at Christmas and waking up to a Playstation 4. She already has four All-Ireland senior camogie medals to her name and she’ll have a cook book out by Christmas if the banana bread tastes as good as it looks. Check out page 5 for the recipe.
Create your own game – If you can’t go to a game, let the game come to you. It’s time to be inventive. I’d like to introduce BASKET-ball (we might run into some copyright difficulties here). The concept is simple – nine toys worth various points from one up to ten and you aim to throw them into a pink basket/shopping trolley from a predetermined distance. The two gladiators take turns to throw all nine toys and the highest aggregate score wins. Are you not entertained, I asked our two-year-old as she interrupted the historic first game. She wanted her teddy back.
Cut the chord with Sky Sports – It had to be done. Out of sight, out of mind. Wall-to-wall Premier League Years just doesn’t do it for me like before. I made the call on Monday. Negotiating their call service is akin to scrambling your way out of the hedge maze in The Shining – but when you get out and finally speak to a real, live person, stay strong. Resist the fluttering of the eyelids and the tempting deal offer (like pausing it for the moment) because you know well that Sky will ring you when live sport returns and offer you the same sports package you had before for half price and also sweeten the deal by adding Sky Movies for an extra €5.
Treat household jobs like the 100m Olympic final – You’re looking to fill that void in your life that would normally be taken up by training or maybe watching a game. Your better half notices you have more spare time on your hands than normal. The list appears. It’s the old reliables. Hoovering. Polishing. Washing up. The downstairs bathroom that everyone uses. The best approach here is use your speed and that has two benefits – it’s a cardiovascular work-out and you’re finished the jobs faster. Sprint in and out the hall with the hoover like you’re racing Phil Healy. Wash the wear in the sink like you’re rowing against the O’Donovan brothers. Polish feverishly like you’re sweeping the ice in a game of curling. Set a personal best. Eighteen seconds to hoover the hall? Aim for 17 next time. Important note: speed isn’t necessarily good in all jobs at home, I’ve been told.
Breathe in the fresh air – If you have hit a wall with your hall-hoovering personal best, fear not, we are still able to venture outdoors for exercise. Beware though, if you feel you are being judged by your neighbours for going for a walk, you probably are. And yes, the curtain’s next door did twitch as you walked past and they are talking about you. But if you’re adhering to social distancing and not after creating a walking group with 20 members on WhatsApp, you’re fine. We all need some fresh air. It’s good for the mind, body and soul. It also gives you time to plan for the long, sport-free night ahead.
It’s okay to let your eyes stray – Days without sport seem endless, we’re just waiting for night time and bed. And repeat. This will end at some point. A sense of normality will return. Until then, you need another interest in your life. A quick fling. Sport is your soul mate and will understand. This is where Netflix can help. You’ve always resisted the temptation, but give in to the urge and sign up. World champion rower Fintan McCarthy is a Netflix fan, he claims to have watched almost everything there is to watch on Netflix. That’s a bold statement. But in these times when we’re home a lot more with the family, it’s important to make time for yourself too. Put the kids to bed at 7pm, make sure your better half is topped up with a glass of wine and a movie she wants to watch, and then slowly tippy-toe to the other room and watch whatever you want. The choice is endless. God bless you, Netflix.
Listen and talk, and in that order – This is probably the toughest of all but it will have the longest lasting benefits. Our attention spans should improve with the lack of sport so we have more time to practice the lost art of conversation. The rewards are incredible. But listen first, always listen, and listen like you’re studying for an exam because you will be quizzed on it. When you hear ‘What did I say so?’, have your answers ready. Pass that test and you might even get the household job you like as a treat. You also learn a lot more by listening. I found out this week that we don’t have a pet called ‘f**king useless’ after all.