The COVID-19 pandemic has massively altered our daily lives, going as far as changing basic habits, such as the simple act of greeting people. Stuck observing self-isolation in our homes, we are left to ponder quietly (or loudly on social media) the fragility of our modern society and various economic and political systems.
Football itself may not be as important as any of that, but it’s an escape for many and a job for a few, and it’s going through similar issues. Most top athletes are used to lavish, comfortable lives that allows them to focus on a singular pursuit. While that’s similar to all others gainfully employed, unlike professional athletes, most of us do not dedicate as great a percentage of our existence to one thing and one thing only. And now that’s been taken away for the first time in practically their entire lives, since most of them have been training for their chosen careers since a very early age.
It’s a strange new reality, to say the least, and no one really knows how to best handle it. As Frank Lampard recently revealed in a live video chat — new reality things! — Chelsea are trying to go about things in a common sense manner, keeping the morale, engagement, and levels of fitness as high as possible without adding unnecessary strain, stress, or busy work.
“It’s tough in the current climate. We’ve been at home for a long time now, self-isolating and showing concern for everybody but we are doing the right thing.”
“It’s just about taking the necessary precautions with the rest of the squad, which we have been doing since [Callum Hudson-Odoi] first tested positive and everyone is doing well in the current climate.”
Of course, the hardest part is that nobody knows what the exact timeline might be moving forward. What is clear is that things won’t return to normal for quite some time, perhaps stretching well into what would’ve been next season.
That will come with plenty of its own issues, so for now, we just have to take it day by day, game by game — to use an old sports cliche for old times’ sake — but without any actual games.
“I’ve been in touch with the players. They all know that I’m there for them, both individually and collectively, and these are tough times both physically and emotionally. So we have to be there for the players and that’s what we have been doing. I have no concerns with the players losing motivation and I know they will be doing the basics right at home in terms of their fitness and looking after themselves in these times.”
“It’s a difficult and strange time for everyone and no matter how much we all love football and all love Chelsea, sometimes other things have to come first. This is one of those situations and my message to the players throughout this has been to put your family first. Look after them, and yourself, and keep the motivation that way.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
At the end of the day, there’s very little we can do other than wait.
So we do.