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Waiting on the Whistle

It must feel impossible to ignore how disappointing losing the opportunity to pursue dreams during a season, competition or a mere single event can be. Everyday you’re being given advice on how to deal with the constraints of the lockdown, how to stay motivated and how to breathe easily without venturing outside. No Premiership and La Liga football to follow in realtime and a potential closed doors T20 CPL which means there's not much for the fans because even if it’s televised it’s not like we can converge in parties at our friend’s house or favourite liming spot to take in the action. And well it seems that there could be new plans underway for 2022 World Cup qualifying in Concacaf. And still no word on when Trinidad and Tobago will get the chance to book its Concacaf Gold Cup spot with the playoffs date still to be determined. In other words, we don't know how long before we'll hear another final whistle that could determine where we stand come Gold Cup or World Cup.

In a very short time, we've moved from being completely unaware of the coronavirus to a place where nearly a third of our entire world population is living under some form of lockdown to prevent its spread.  Additionally, every mainstream sporting event or organization is on a break. Well, except for the Nicaraguan Football League. Our fundamental way of life has been altered. Training, playing, commuting, schooling and socialising are replaced by the monotony of staying and working from home without any clear end in sight. Studies of previous epidemics suggest that mental anxiety and depression that are severe enough to need treatment will return to normal levels after an epidemic, but post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) requires longer recovery time. So that leaves the question as to exactly how will the situation be even when the games resume. How will athletes adjust to regular training again? What will the performance levels be like? As much as we all want to leave this crisis behind as soon as possible, there are so many other factors to consider or at least prepare for in advance, Government and business collaborating seems to be among best chance at preventing a hopefully short-term recession from becoming a global depression.

For the Home of Football, we have seen some benefits in this regard where hopefully sport and football will finally get to benefit from the cause. What we have seen here is government and companies bending the curve  by cautiously starting initiatives to gets parts of social and economic life going again.  It is where we leave competitive interests temporarily behind, and work together to ensures that something good comes out of it in the end and we’re not just waiting for a magical solution. In light of all the restrictions and lack of activity, it is important for us to remember our “why": Even with no competition on the horizon and no way to actively realise our ambitions,  reflecting, remembering, and recommitting to your “why” or reason for training and competing in our areas can help us to remain positive and motivated while adapting to current restrictions. Keeping in touch with team members collectively and individually as much as possible is a good option. This could be mean recognizing that you are likely an important, valuable part of their lives, and as such, you may be one of the few people who fellow athletes, teammates, coaches or administrators trust and are willing to talk to about their feelings, insecurities, worries, and well-being right now.

Being a good resource is another good option. Many of us are learning this method and how to utilize it even more now.  Based on the needs of  teammates or athletes, providing insights into training options,motivational sessions, planning and strategizing can occur via credible online programs or apps. Men's national head coach Terry Fenwick has adapted this approach over the past couple weeks, connecting with players both home and abroad for meetings.Technology has allowed us to follow up on a previous contact with English-born Crystal Palace  defender Ryan Inniss who is now on loan with Newport County. This connection led to the player now committing to playing for Trinidad and Tobago once the Pandemic is over and you’ll hear more about this soon.

It is important to remain neutral and factual: We have to try this regarding any governing body’s decision to cancel or postpone events. We'll be best advised to keep the  pandemic in perspective to help our peers understand and rationalize any perceived unfairness or doomness. Composure and resilience remains a key.In this time of uncertainty, focus on what you can control, even when it feels as if there is little you can control. Remember - “Always be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle.”



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