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How our writers coped with no live sport …


If this is the “new normal” I’d best invest in a treadmill very soon for my couch hasn’t seen me this much in a really long while

Well, sports fans, how did you cope with your first weekend without any live sport?

Independent Media’s sports writers reflect on their weekends without their usual dose

Zaahier Adams

An entire weekend without any live sport – whether amateur or professional – was a real shock to the system.

I must confess that I am not an avid consumer of sport on television and prefer to be at the stadium or on the touchline.

This past weekend I would normally have been watching some of the best youth rugby talent on display, but instead found myself glued to Netflix, reliving an all-time classic Lagaan and also binged on the new series The English Game.

If this is the “new normal” I’d best invest in a treadmill very soon for my couch hasn’t seen me this much in a really long while.

Mihlali Baleka

There’s a huge difference between covering sports and loving sports and I just happen to be a sport FANATIC.

So, since the majority of the sport activities – particularly football – have been suspended amid the outbreak of the coronavirus, my television has been completely off. Late on Sunday I realised that I hadn’t watched TV for almost two days. But, I mean, there’s no purpose to it.

It was supposed to be interesting times for football fanatics considering it’s now the time for the survival-of-the-fittest and the elimination-of-the-weakest as the leagues around the world head to the finish-line.

But patience and awareness should prevail.

Mike de Bruyn

The thought of a weekend without any sport was daunting.

No Super Rugby, football, cricket and that is just the “big three”.

Never mind the silence of Formula One Grand Prix tracks around the world and tennis tournaments on hold.

There was a ray of light when the Premier Soccer League suggested they would hold games behind closed doors, but that idea was shot down almost as soon as it was mentioned.

Instead of covering Cape Town City and Stellenbosch FC in their battles to keep up with Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns, I surfed the news channels, which was wall-to-wall coverage of the global coronavirus outbreak.

I realised that (having) no sport was really quite trivial compared to the problem the world faces.

Mike Greenaway

I went to an old school friend’s guest house for rest and down time.

I binge watched a German series on Netflix called Babylon Berlin, set in 1929 and between the world wars. The attention to historical detail in this series is outstanding and I never found the sub-titles distracting.

In-between, I read Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks, about the horrors of World War One, which for me put in perspective the war on the virus.

Three things I recommend from my no-sport weekend: Garth Bogle’s Bali Grand Guest House on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast; any book by Faulks; exploring non-English language TV series.

Stuart Hess

To be honest, this first Saturday and Sunday without sport wasn’t bad at all.

My interest in Super Rugby began waning five years ago so I barely missed it.

In fact, the only sport I missed, was my beloved Arsenal, who are still in the race for a spot in the top four in the English Premier League and thus a return to the Champions League.

At the weekend Arsenal would have played their FA Cup quarter-final against Sheffield United.

That’s all I missed.

I cooked, I cleaned, I did a bit of shopping.

The only sport I watched – besides an old clip of Arsenal beating Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League from way back when (Denis Bergkamp’s chip for the fourth goal was just divine) – was the excellent documentary Fire in Babylon about the social impact made by the great West Indies team of the late 1970s, ’80s and early ’90s.

I can highly recommend it.

Wynona Louw

You know things are tough when you catch yourself regretting not having appreciated Aussie Super Rugby derbies a bit more I mean, even that would have been better than no rugby at all.

This past weekend was bleak, it didn’t even feel like a weekend at all. What do you do?

There’s only so many times you can watch replays of the Boks’ World Cup final victory before Cheslin Kolbe’s vicious step past Owen Farrell starts giving us a new definition of social distancing, and an epidemic of rolled ankles is the last thing we need right now.

That, and seeing Farrell so regularly.

Minenhle Mkhize

It was a very strange weekend. It felt like I was on leave but even if I’m on leave, you can’t take away the love that I have for sport.

I live and breathe sports.

For the past three weeks I’ve been working on Friday night. I don’t have to explain how fascinating Friday nights are in Pietermaritzburg, but the coronavirus outbreak broke that momentum.

This was a boring weekend.

It is something that I will never get used to – but at least I was able to spend some quality time with my girlfriend.

Bonginkosi Ndadane

The weekend that normally flies by took an eternity without sport.

On Saturday I caught up with the shows I am watching, watched a couple of sport documentaries and read a bit.

When I was tired of doing that and checked the clock, it was only 2pm. My life seemed unstructured with no sport to centre it.

Even drinking in the morning looked bad with no rugby to use as an excuse. It was worse than the apocalypse because there, the zombies chase you – there is some action.

Sitting idle with not much to watch or do made me restless, like an addict in search of their next fix.

Jacques van der Westhuyzen

It’s the “missing out” that hurts (like having to fulfil a dinner engagement when you know your mates are watching the Super Rugby final).

This last weekend didn’t feel like I “missed out” because there was nothing to miss.

Not having the option of watching live rugby, football or golf, though, just limited my options on Saturday and Sunday.

But it wasn’t all that bad; I simply did other stuff.

I bought a 1 000-piece puzzle which my son Joshua and I are building, I read a lot (like always), and I still went out for my regular weekend runs (like always).

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