Not since Italia ’90, have we seen a nation unite in the way the Ireland is currently doing. Whilst with the death toll rising daily, it would be flippant to compare the current crisis we are facing with Covid-19, to a sporting event, there are many comparisons to be drawn.
Without doubt the nation stands shoulder to shoulder, metaphorically if not actually speaking as social distancing rules clearly wouldn’t allow that level of physical contact! A few over excited supporters getting lost in the pub, being steered back onside by a chanting crowd and the omnipotent referee (Vitners not Varadkar) to prevent them scoring an own goal.
Everyone is hoping to emerge victorious at the end of the 17-day lockdown battle we are facing. As few cases as possible being the goal, so as not to cripple our already overstretched health service. No one can quibble, that the health workers and emergency services are the men and women of the match in this crisis and they have a country full of supporters cheering them on.
Scenes from Italy and Spain show spontaneous singing and applause erupting all over the land, the solidarity is palpable, even through the screens of our smart TVs.
Here at home, as we batten down the hatches for two and half weeks, with the definite prospect of extra time, the people or Ireland are taking the opportunity to unite, to reconnect. Reconnect with our children, our parents, our friends and most importantly – ourselves. For once, technology is the vehicle of connection, when for so long, it has driven us to disconnect, one device at a time.
People are keeping in regular contact; with virtual St. Patrick’s Day Parades, home schooling tips, novelty games and memes to keep us all on the right side of sanity in the upcoming lockdown.
Most importantly of all, the swell of community spirit in protecting and supporting the weaker players in this process, is commendable. GAA teams delivering groceries and medical essentials, free dinners on offer and regular facetime calls with people, for whom isolation is sadly something that isn’t new.
Whatever the result come March 29thand beyond, we can feel proud of ourselves as a country united. A team committed to playing fair, to supporting each other, for not leaving any man behind and doing everything we can to minimise casualties.
People are already planning ahead for the next round, when Covid-19 goes on the attack against a weakened economy. I am confident the people of Ireland, will continue with that community spirit and take it from strength to strength. Ensuring the newly connected, will remain an important part of the team. Supporting our local businesses as they recover from serious injury and just generally helping each other out.
We’ll answer Ireland’s call and give Covid-19, that dirtiest of players, a red card, once and for all and get that much needed human reconnection across the line.