Saturdays seem to be the hardest. We’re all getting used to a ‘new normal’ in our lives, but it hits home most at the weekend. Not just the complete absence of high-level sport. Not just the loss of the feeling you get thinking about your own team’s game and whether the vital three points away at QPR will be won.
Rather, it’s the absence right now of usual opportunities to feel the true power of sport on your life.
No parkrun. No spinning or Zumba workout. No football or rugby game. No mixed doubles on the badminton court.
I don’t write this thinking it should be otherwise. To do so would be not just irresponsible but, given my role as our chief executive, completely against everything I’ve heard from the government and its scientific advisors about what is needed to combat the pandemic we’re encountering. And I know this is shared by everyone in our sector – from a local sports club and community group, through to the Premier League, we all know that right now what matters most is what needs to be done to contribute to our collective fight back.
What that can’t and mustn’t mean is we stop being active which we believe is now more important than ever.
From the Prime Minister down, everyone recognises the vital benefit that being active can have. It's not just a means of building and retaining your physical wellbeing, but also crucially it's a way of supporting your mental health and battling back against some of the worst moments of isolation and fear that the coronavirus has instilled in all of us.
While public buildings may be shut, people can still go outside as long as they’re following the government’s advice on how and when to do so.
Observing social distancing protocols, it remains perfectly possible to build activity into your daily routine – going for a run, or a walk or a bike ride – and we believe it is best to do that local to where you live. The opportunity has always been there and the need has never been greater.
But I cannot reiterate enough the importance of following the official protocols.
Going outside means staying two metres from others. People should also stay local to where they live and avoid going anywhere where it might be hard to follow the guidelines.