Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Does Rugby really matter?

With the advice on how we should be trying to cope with Covid-19 seemingly changing daily, with hundreds queueing to get into supermarkets whose shelves are already bare (PLEASE stop panic buying!!), with the over 70s faced with the ludicrous suggestion that they may have to self-isolate for up to four months (!!) and with huge uncertainty about how our lives will be affected over the coming days, weeks and months, I find myself facing an existential crisis of my own - i.e.: Does Rugby Matter?

I say this after today's announcement by the RFU that all rugby activity in England is suspended, which follows the curtailment of the Six Nations and the suspension of the Premiership, Pro-14, Top 14 and Super Rugby.

As things currently stand, therefore, it looks as if my son's Colts season is over. I guess it was always only a matter of time -  indeed, our Under 18s fixture last Sunday was duly called off after two of the opposition reported having high temperatures.

Of course the postponement or cancellation of sports fixtures - whether at the elite or at the local level - is small beer when set against the wider coronavirus crisis in which many may lose their lives and many more will lose their livelihoods.

In that sense rugby doesn't matter.

And yet it does.

For many, including yours truly, there is very much a rhythm to life that involves sport - in my case mainly rugby - at its very heart. Whether it's watching games on TV at the weekend, running the line at a youth game on a Sunday, catching up with the weekend's action on a Monday, coaching on a Tuesday evening or preparing for the weekend ahead, there is a familiar routine that helps structure my days and weeks and which underpins my well-being.

And when the season ends there is still Touch Rugby to play, international tours to follow and then back into pre-season for the campaign ahead.

Take all that away - and remove the opportunities to mix and to socialise and to gather and to chat - and life begins to look somewhat bleak, somewhat empty. They say you don't know what you've got until it's gone but I'm very aware of what I will be missing and I don't look forward to it one little bit.

Rugby doesn't matter but it does.

Strange days indeed.

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