TEAM motivation and connection is at a critical point.
Just as Ballarat was starting to make a gradual sporting comeback - whether that be in junior football, rowing on the water, working out in the gym or in pre-season cricket training - we copped a heavy blow.
We have been here before, stage three restrictions, but the danger here is in people tapping out faster than if they were put in a wrestling sharpshooter. We are plain fed up.
Exercise is what health experts tells us is good for our minds and stress levels during this time.
Ballarat's sporting fraternity did an absolutely amazing job in our first bout of heavy lockdowns with virtual training sessions and team check-ins.
While many sports and clubs have still been unable to re-launch under eased restrictions, these innovations were an important part to keep the team together, to look after each other.
This time is harder, colder and more important than ever not to give up on our clubs or each other.
Zoom gloom is a thing. Organisational work experts wrote in Harvard Business Review that Google searches on the matter started to rise from mid-March as constant on-screen stimuli wore people down.
They found a key part of this was getting so up-close in your colleague/teammates/grandma's face for so long in a constant gaze makes us uncomfortable - like an old-school footy spray but without the siren to return to play.
But it got us through last time and can get us through again.
Social media and video conferencing are not our only tools.
Lapping the lake at Easter brought the concept of promenading back into fashion.
All that work on fixing up our bikes we did to go riding? That mattered too.
Social distancing kick-to-kicks were important with footballers telling The Courier it was a vital way to keeping touch on the footy without knowing when the next game would be.
When we come out of this lockdown round it will be spring.
It will be right about the time when normally footballers and netballers get that extra bite to their game as they smell finals in the air. It is right about the time when normally we would be deciding chicken or beef for best-and-fairest nights.
Ballarat Cricket Association's board will meet on Monday night to consider its options for the season ahead. Pre-season training has been suspended and the BCA already wears the pandemic scars of having last season's grand finals cancelled.
We all know this hurts right now and it is easy to look at what we are missing. But we are in this for the long-haul and need to focus on what we can do for ourselves and for our teammates.
This columnist does not say this lightly, nor as an attempt to play coach.
Ballarat has an incredible sporting culture from the grassroots to the international stage. This is something we should be proud of, this is something we should fight to preserve.
Sport is about so much more than a game. We connect, we inspire and we need it in whatever form we can.
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