The question I find myself asking is, “Why must people who do the right thing and follow the instructions set by the CMO still suffer after more than a year into this seemingly endless COVID-19 situation?” We, SKHY FC, are a football club, so according to the current COVID-19 regulations banning group recreational activities, we are left on the sidelines. For how long?
It was quite understandable when this pandemic began that the government put a hold on all sporting activities and clamped down on all extracurricular activities because at that time much was unknown about how COVID-19 was transmitted. As it stands now, we have been restricted for over a year. In March, we were permitted to return to some semblance of activity within certain restrictions, but after approximately one month, activities were curtailed once again.
Why have group outdoor activities (football) stopped once again? The answer is, “People were not following the recommendations/rules set by the Ministry of Health (MOH) for the safe reopening of recreational activities.” Therefore, due to our stubbornness and lack of discipline the government was forced to take the decision to curtail all activities across the board, this being the easiest way to save ourselves from ourselves.
My issue with this situation is that it is like the old saying, “Peter will pay for Paul and Paul will pay for all.” My Club is like Peter, following all the rules/regulations to the letter, but because others (the Pauls) don’t follow the said regulations we all suffer from their transgressions. Maybe the powers that be can look at enforcing the law for those who flaunt the rules and do their own thing instead of going across the board carte blanche and penalizing everyone. It will possibly have to take more manpower, but this seems a much better way to be fair to all parties/entities.
More and more people across the world today seem to like to buck the establishment, Trinbago is no different. In today’s world, people will do whatever they feel like doing with no regard for the impact on others unless there are consequences. One wonders whether or not a fine can be imposed and followed up on, upon those who are in contravention of the regulations; so that those who uphold said regulations can continue to operate.
Clubs such as ours which cater mainly to young people/children are tremendously affected by these restrictions. Coaches with no other source of income have gone penniless for the last year and I wonder how in heaven’s name they have survived and are surviving. Praise God that I had my rainy days savings and a wife who is fully supportive and still employed. I am no psychologist, but I would think children who indulge in extracurricular activities are suffering in this lengthy shutdown. The second shutdown would have been even worse for children who were able to restart for a month and get back onto the groove of his/her activity, only to have to shut down again. This could be enough to persuade some children to give up any outdoor activities and focus on playing computer games. Is this really what we want?
Our Club witnessed directly the negative effects of the lockdown. On our restart a month or so ago, it was noted that some children returning had gained weight and others had declined in their technical ability which was quite noticeable even to the child. After a month of training one could see the children regaining their confidence as they improved, then wham! Lock down again. As I said earlier, I don’t purport to be a psychologist, but I ask the question, Will some children just give up their sport and say “Enough is enough, I am not going through this scenario again.”
Here’s my message to all the clubs, football and others, out there who may not have been following the rules set out by the Ministry of Health and caused this last shutdown: Teams don’t have to only play matches. This is the opportune time to improve your players’ technical ability. Games should be used to observe the end results of your coaching so you can make the necessary adjustments to your coaching program. If your players can’t control and pass the ball over ten yards, what good is it to play a match? What good is it to teach tactics? Without proper technical expertise from your players, all of the tactics that you want to teach them fly out the window.
During the one-month period when the government opened for recreational sport, with some imagination and planning, my Club was able to organize and deliver an effective coaching product. Age groups came at staggered times. All players/parents were sanitized and temperatures recorded on entering. Players were sent to their respective training areas and parents returned to their vehicles. Coaches had their areas set up, with a grid for each child which was six feet from any other grid, back, front or sides. The player had a ball and all other equipment deemed necessary by the coach within his/her grid for the session. At the end of each age group’s session they were escorted to the other side of the ground to meet their parents. At these sessions coaches worked on improving each player’s technique and God knows we as coaches have a lot of work to do on this aspect of our particular sport in Trinbago.
So coaches, let’s forget about matches for a while and take this opportunity to really develop your charges technically. Impart the knowledge of the game and the rules to them. Then, when you play your games, you will see the benefit of your work in a much better performing team, win or lose. Understand for whose benefit you are coaching. Is it for the parent, yourself or the player? Whenever the Government gives the all clear to open again for recreational sport (hopefully soon), please follow the guidelines given. Have some imagination as a Club and as a coach and plan beforehand to best operate under the given restrictions.
STAY SAFE EVERYONE.