When a natural event hits a city, such as a flood or fire, it usually affects part of the community. When the Christchurch equate hit nine years ago, the whole city and surrounding countryside shared the same experience.
For many months after, at events, dinners or catch ups, we all talked about and listened to the many different versions of that experience. While we all had witnessed the same most peculiar natural event (or disaster), each experience was unique and worth sharing. It mostly brought out the best in people, in local communities and Christchurch society as a whole. An over-riding memory is that while some people had a worse experience than others, each was very thankful for life, family, friends and loved ones. Each also knew of others worse off which helped put their own experience into perspective.
Jobs were lost, and new ones found as we witnessed the flight or fight phenomenon with many wishing to head home to Auckland, Taranaki, Central Otago and so on. Those that stayed made something out of what they had. While it can be said that Cantabrians learned to be resilient and grew character, talk to anyone in the medical fraternity and they will speak of on-going mental health concerns they have for many in the community.
Right now, with COVID-19, we are globally sharing a similar experience to those all over the world. Life has rapidly changed from what we knew before 2020. They only thing that appears to be certain is uncertainty.
Right now, in NZ, it feels like we are waiting for a bus to arrive called COVID-19. While we hope it never comes we are informed on good authority that it will appear, and we must be ready. The stats make hard reading on numbers that are likely to contract the disease, those that will require hospitalisation, intensive care and fatality numbers. Seems similar to Noah’s Ark?
Similar to many weeks after the Christchurch earthquake, my focus is on the here-and-now, on what is important in life, on family, friends and loved ones. We all are waiting and because of that much of what we do and enjoy in life seems less significant and secondary to the main game.
What I am trying to say is that with all the cancellations and postponements of motorsport events throughout the world, it now feels as though it doesn’t really matter. If they were to go ahead, I don’t know if I would actually be as consumed by them as I would have been a week ago. For the moment I have lost my motorsport appetite as my energy is focused on, dear I say it, more important things.
As our Australian columnist Peter Whitten wrote, ‘It seems selfish to be worrying about motorsport at a time when the world is suffering from the coronavirus pandemic.’ (See When there’s much more in play than just motorsport).
Which brings me to the Super 15 (or is it 12 or 18) rugby competition, the NRL and the A-League. While many sporting events continue to be cancelled/postponed, all three competitions have decided to ‘play-on’ without a crowd but to a TV audience.
Now both the NZ Warriors and the Wellington Phoenix will base themselves in Australia in order to compete for the remainder of the season without constant trans-Tasman traveling and the 14-day self-isolation required now by both Australia and New Zealand.
Players will be away from families, friends and communities while the most significant event in world history, for some time, takes place. It appears that it is the commercial dollar that is ruling these decisions.
If I have lost my appetite for motorsport (and I repeat ‘for the moment’) then there must be rugby, league and football fans who feel the same way. There are much greater concerns than a ball being kicked and thrown around a pitch.
To paraphrase Peter Whitten ‘It seems selfish to be worrying about ‘sport at a time when the world is suffering from the coronavirus pandemic.’
As for my motorsport appetite? I have no doubt that it will return with a vengeance.