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Mark Armstrong: Why it’s still so important for people to get their sporting fix

We all still need to get our sporting fix during these strange times, says Mark Armstrong. Picture: Archant

We all still need to get our sporting fix during these strange times, says Mark Armstrong. Picture: Archant

Archant

During times of crisis such as these then sport can feel unimportant to say the least.

When people’s lives are at risk or their livelihoods are being heavily impacted then any attention on people kicking a bag of wind around or running from A to B as quickly as they can, might seem irrelevant.

Yet it has also focused on minds on how much we rely on sports like football, rugby, cricket, boxing or running etc for escapism.

Last weekend without any football of any real note felt surreal. Other sports that did take place knew this could be the last time it happens for a significant period.

Of course, it’s the only sensible call to suspend all sporting events until a clear path over how we are going to get through this COVID-19 crisis.

However, some semblance of normality must go on. People look to sport, especially the taking part of it, to help with their mental health.

In a very insecure period, doing the things we love brings a modicum of security to our very interrupted lives.

It’s why there is a bit of a buzz around Leyton Orient’s decision to host a mammoth FIFA 20 tournament between 128 teams with Norwich City being represented by Todd Cantwell. It’s not the same as watching the Dereham Deco strutting his stuff at Carrow Road, but it’s something that can take our minds off an ever increasingly worrying news cycle.

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Then there are the running clubs who are holding ‘virtual’ races in the absence of being able to stage the proper events.

Wymondham AC are holding their Ed Burton 5 Mile Series virtually, using the social media network Strava.

Their runners must establish a ‘base time’ along a route which starts at Wymondham Abbey Station and finishes in Lady Lane before the end of March and they will then have the whole of April to improve their time.

The aim for each runner is to improve their time by as much as possible but Wymondham members have been warned that establishing a slow ‘base time’ will be spotted. Weekly results will be published along with a league table at the end of April.

Other clubs such as Norfolk Gazelles regularly challenge their members to run ‘Strava segments’ and this is likely to be go up a notch in the absence of regular Sunday events.

Any participation in these types of activities obviously need to be within the parameters set by the government but the longer this sporting hiatus lasts then the more innovative people and their clubs will get to achieve their sporting kicks.

Let’s just hope we get to a stage, in the near future, where we go back to feeling like our sporting interests and endeavours are one of the most central aspects of our lives.

When we start complaining about the tactics of Norwich City’s head coach or the fact we’ve got a niggle and can’t race this weekend, that’s when we know normality has been restored.

Tell me what you’re doing to get your sporting fix. Let me know at mark.armstrong@archant.co.uk

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