So far, so good. I feel positive, my mind and body are healthy and luckily I have not shown any symptoms. In fact, the only symptoms I have shown so far are what I invented “sport withdrawal”.
I live and breathe sport, both as a participant and spectator, with basketball and football, the games I play and follow religiously.
But as the shadow of the coronavirus spread throughout the sports world, leagues and competitions were closed one by one, from the NBA and the ATP Tennis Tour, to the UEFA Champions League and to my good. -loved “Primeira Liga” in Portugal.
I could no longer sit in the comfort of my living room watching my native Benfica team play a league game or watch LeBron James’ L.A. Lakers head to the NBA playoffs.
British government directives on locking also meant that I could no longer go to the gym, go to the football field or the basketball court. Instead, I am now confined to my home with limited access to the outside world.
I understand that there are worse things than being asked to abdicate all sports while the world is struggling with much bigger issues, but for the health of my body and my mind I had to find mechanisms to adaptation to overcome what could be a long journey ahead.
I’m not the only one. Between playing and taking up the “toilet paper challenge”, top athletes found the time to share on their social networks how they were trying to stay in shape while their respective seasons were on hold.
Naturally, not everyone has big houses with backyards for running, or their own basketball courts or custom gyms, but when things get tough, people can be very creative.
My friends and I studied online delivery services to order fitness equipment so that we could create our own workout space. What we are visualizing is a house that can alternate between an office space and a gym.
The good news is that I am not alone. Realizing – and more importantly, showing empathy – the situation, gyms and fitness experts used their available platforms to share workouts that people can do from home for free.
A video of a fitness instructor ordering a workout from a rooftop in Seville, Spain, really stuck with me – with people following directions from their balconies.
For my part, I run a daily race – within the framework of government protocols – with as much caution as possible. I choose a specific path with almost no one around and if someone is in sight, I will keep my distance.
The rest of my training is at home, with resistance bands and a mat for my stretches, push-ups and crunches.
With no live sporting events to watch, I turned to YouTube for match highlights, top 10 games (in the NBA), Michael Jordan’s career moments and other sports-related content.
I am not the only one who wants a sports solution.
Other adjustments must be made. We have moved from normal human interactions to distant interactions, with more emphasis on video group chats, often made up of four or more people connected from different parts of the world.
We no longer go out for dinner, we rather turn to Deliveroo and Uber Eats to bring some of our favorite treats home.
Many have taken measures to accommodate customers during quarantine, by waiving their delivery charges or by offering the driver the option of literally leaving food at your doorstep to accommodate social remoteness.
We have also changed the way we do our shopping, with many now turning to shopping online for food, medicine and other essentials – if you are able to reserve a time slot.
Of course, these sacrifices become trivial when you look at the big picture.
However, not being able to return to Portugal to see my family was difficult. Even before the borders started to close, I had decided not to return because my father is 89 years old and my mother has a history of respiratory problems.
For now, my goal is to continue my life as normally as possible, while naturally following government protocols – with common sense in the foreground.
These are strange but extraordinary moments … moments when we can easily see the absolute best of people.
Health services around the world – beyond their means – have worked tirelessly to provide the necessary support to their communities.
Scientists have come together to find the best way to contain the virus and make a vaccine as quickly as possible.
Broadcasters have exposed themselves to the possibility of contracting this horrible virus in order to make the news known to the public.
Entertainment shows have found creative ways to produce content to make home quarantine more manageable.
Artists have used their social media platforms to share their art with millions of people around the world. Some even went out on their own balcony to perform in their neighborhood – like the Italian tenor Maurizio Marchini who sang “Nessun Dorma” to the delight of the people of Florence, Italy.
Other members of the community also intervened, volunteering to fetch food and medicine for the elderly, organizing movements to pay tribute to health workers or singing – even if that is the key – cheer up.
Likewise, many athletes and clubs have come together to help their communities or support medical research.
Basketball players such as the reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), rookie Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans) and former NBA champion Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers) are just a few- some of these names.
Football superstars Sadio Mane of Liverpool and Zlatan Ibrahimović of AC Milan are just a small sample of the football community who helped help the cause, while tennis players Li Na and Simona Halep and the player from the NFL JJ Watt are also doing their part.
Just like in sport, we are tested beyond our limits and called to work as a team.
Knowing your role and doing your part is at the heart of sports success. The only difference is that working together here could mean that everyone wins.
We cross our fingers to say that “this too will pass”. We will prevail and come out stronger and more united than ever. This is my hope.