We have come a long way in a couple of years. From locking ourselves in our homes to Zoom calls to work or school from home. I have no doubt that lockdown has been difficult for everyone in their
own different ways and harder for some than others.
Being involved in professional football is fantastic and it has so many positives whether you are watching or playing but when we were told that we couldn’t do either, there was nothing for anyone to look forward too on the weekend. To be
suddenly thrust into a position where your daily and weekly routines are no longer achievable it was a challenge, and I am positive that it wasn’t just footballers that felt this way.
Working from home was rather difficult when you rely on other people shooting at you every day. It’s not the same diving for a save in the top corner, as diving onto the sofa and grabbing the remote and shouting “keepers” and then getting weird looks from your family.
The key for me was to set a structure to my days and weeks. Going from a daily team environment to living on my own could have been a struggle. So, I was lucky enough to move back to my parents’ house for the duration of lockdown, so I wasn’t living on my own. It gave me company and my family to talk to rather than being cooped up in my flat all day by myself.
Lockdown was longer than any off season, and it was even harder to prepare to return to football when the dates kept changing. We were supplied by the club, training, and fitness drills to do leading up to the return date so that when football resumes, we were in the best shape possible to start training fully. Although I think being an outfield player may have its advantages during this prolonged absence from the football field. Being a goalkeeper, you rely on others, for you to train
and shoot at you to make saves. All the fitness and self-training sessions do help you prepare but nothing is the same as the real thing. Goalkeepers are the only positions that train harder than they play, but all the training cannot replicate the concentration and match focus needed for a ninety-minute game.
My lockdown went a lot better than I thought it would do. I’d start each day with my fitness programme and then pick up a list of jobs id been to do around the house and garden to keep me occupied (useful) until the evening when my parents finish work, and my brother has completed his university assignments. The jobs ranged from digging up shrubs and plants and replanting them in
the garden, to dusting the hard to reach places that only I can get to in my family. The jobs gave me that sense of purpose and achievement, that has been missing from not being able to train and play. It’s also been keeping my mind active so that I wouldn’t get bored and just sit in front of the television binge watching Keeping up with the Kardashians. I think my parents appreciated me
attempting to do the jobs around the house so that by the time the weekend came, and they could sign off from work and there was less for them to do and they could relax rather than have to do all the house jobs that normally wouldn’t be finished by the weekend during a normal working week.
Who knew what football would look like when we eventually returned? Thankfully it wasn’t too long as everyone feared before people were back in the stadiums at fully capacity. All I can say is that I’m grateful we are back to some sense of “normality” and that we are putting this pandemic behind us
and moving passed it.
by Lewis Ward, Swindon Town FC