Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

What a grand time was the pandemic

Posted on 8 May 2020 by Hal Fish

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Since the Covid-19 outbreak, sport organisations have upped their charity work and care in the community.

That’s not to say they weren’t conscious of these things prior, but the amount of good work has notably increased.

For instance, Wembley has opened its kitchen with the intention of cooking 20,000 meals a day.

As Amy Lawrence writes: “It is a story that could only happen during a crisis.”

She’s dead right. It would have never of happened without the pandemic.

With that in mind, I can’t help but wonder if these grand gestures will remain once things go back to normal?

https://twitter.com/AFC_Foundation/status/1255567468975869952

There is poem by African American poet Langston Hughes called World War II.

“What a grand time was the war!

Oh, my, my!

What a grand time was the war!

My, my, my!

In wartime we had fun,

Sorry that old war is done!

What a grand time was the war,

My, my!

Echo:

Did

Somebody

Die?”

During the war, different ethnicities fought side by side for America, consequently there was more equal treatment of different races. Yet, after the war, nothing changed for African-Americans, they continued to be oppressed in society. Hughes ironically feels nostalgic for the war, because at least then he was treated equally.

Will life after the pandemic will follow a similar pattern? So much charity work is being done now, but vulnerable people will still need help once all this is over.

Will they get it? Or will they too look back with ironic nostalgia?

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Simon Lansley created Connect Sport, a website which tells the stories of all those organisations who use sport to do good in the community, with the aim to connect to everyone in the sector.

More than most, Lansley has recognised the good work being done since the outbreak.

“Some people could be forgiven for thinking, if there’s no matches being played, what is the point of a football club? It’s massively increased the club’s sense of we must be doing something in the community.”

Clubs are distributing hot meals, calling up the alone and vulnerable to make sure they’re okay, and doing many other good deeds.

The question is, will the high level of charity work will be maintained when sport returns?

“It’s interesting because if we go back to normal that extra outreach into the community will probably stop. Because there won’t be an emergency anymore,” Lansley explains.

“But the clubs will probably think, hang on a minute that’s really raised awareness of us as a club in the community. And the chairman might say, well you know that’s a good thing. It might increase season ticket sales, it might get more people coming into the club.

“So I think it could all possibly bring about quite a change In the way sport is perceived. I think those clubs will probably take on more social responsibility. I think that’s a really good thing.”

Now is a time of great change. A lot of bad but some good. When normality resumes, let’s maintain the good.