Sport is so much more than entertainment.
For every titanic tussle, last-minute goal or nerve-wracking finish it brings thrills unlike anything else.
But what makes it truly special is the uniquely powerful ability it has to unite, inspire and motivate.
That’s true for people across the globe whether you are an athlete or not.
Yesterday (Monday, April 20) we celebrated three years since we aired the very first episode of SportSpiel.
Our fanatical love of sport is exactly why we launched the show in the first place.
But we did not envisage celebrating our third-year anniversary with the country in lockdown in the midst of a worldwide pandemic.
So that’s what spawned this quick piece of writing. For each of our anniversary celebrations we’ve had a look back at the fun times but that didn’t seem quite right this time around.
What the lockdown has forced us to do is to take stock of a lot of things – there’s negatives and positives to that of course.
But one way I’ve tried to rationalise the unprecedented state of affairs we find ourselves in is to think of it as putting your life on pause.
That way of thinking came about by listening to athlete – and former prisoner – John McAvoy on the Feel Better Live More podcast hosted by Dr Rangan Chatterjee.
After all, how often do you actually get to pause your life and think?
Never. Until now that is.
So, if you can, try and use this time to think about what you were unhappy with while your life was on play mode.
It’s made me realise just how important sport was in my life, not just from a health and wellbeing perspective but also on the social side.
On the face of it, it may seem that our sport has been taken away from us – no games to watch and no competition to get embroiled in.
Except it’s anything but. What lockdown has proved is that sport has become even more integral in keeping people connected and as happy as can be.
That comes in the form of athletes sharing tips on social media, various video challenges or people coming together to take part in virtual sporting challenges.
But it also comes in the form of our daily exercise allowance. How many people do we think have taken up running in the last few weeks to get out of the house and probably discovered something worth continuing with?
From my perspective I’ve never seen as many people out running in the parks as I have done since lockdown came into force.
But sport is also still bringing people together, even now.
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#CREATEDONATE and JOIN our #fundraisingfriday challenge!! 🌟👇🏻👇🏻 – Inspired by Captain Tom Moore’s incredible efforts 🌟and a desire to raise funds to show our support for the 🌈NHS, we are excited to be setting up and completing some creative challenges for you all to get involved in! 🌟For our first #CREATEDONATE challenge we are asking you to CREATE your own scene! This could be you doing your sport, at work, at home or in the garden- a scene of something in your life at the moment! Check out images for some inspiration. Get creative 😁 Share with us by tagging us in your Instagram stories and posts! 🌟Then if you can, donate by clicking on the link in our bio! 🌟Please share far and wide and get your friends and family members involved too! 🌟We would LOVE to see as many of you as possible getting involved in this inspiring and creative way of having fun! 🌟Let’s goooo!!! @izzy.songhurst @lauragallagher26 @driscoll86 @bryony_page @tracywhittakersmith 💫👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 #GetInvolved #keepjumping #Stayathome #stayconnected #supportthenhs #savelives
We at the podcast, for example, are going to be taking part in The Mintridge Foundation’s #771 challenge and there’s plenty more ways people can keep connected with one another.
Whether it’s over Zoom, Skype or whatever other video call app there is now, the shared appreciation of sport is clear for all to see.
When we started this podcast, we wanted it to be all about the athletes.
We wanted it to be different from the mainstream, without time limits, and it was intended to be a platform that gave our guests the chance to really express themselves and show us who they are.
A lot has changed in three years, but that mantra never has.
Through all our episodes so far, our guests have spoken about just how important sport is to them and how influential it can be to people’s wellbeing.
Now, more than ever, that has shown itself to be true.
Words: Alasdair Hooper