What will be left of a sports year of protest and emptiness?

What will be left of a sports year of protest and emptiness?

2020 has been an eventful sporting year. sincerely Looking back at a chain. Today: On the violations raised in an empty sports year I made it clear how important sport is in reality.

Harrie Lavreysen is a living block granite from Brabant Kempen. It’s amazing how his bike withstood all their might when he defeated his third world title at the track cycling world championships in Berlin in early March. For Lavreysen, it was a unique trilogy at the Tokyo Olympics. For his accomplishments in Berlin, he would have become Sportsman of the Year anyway.

But those elections did not take place at all this year. Luyksgestel’s track printer hasn’t competed in a single race since March. The games have been canceled and postponed, just like the European Football Championship. This spring, the entire world of sports stopped this spring. In the Netherlands, the collapse of the Premier League, the denial of opportunities for the sudden rise of Cambodia, and the distribution of European tickets, led to some unrest in Poland, which disturbed even the judge.

Corona will bring the world sports circus back to its senses, it was the silent hope at that time. Hasn’t the calendar become so full under the influence of TV rights holders and sponsors – read money? Was that still necessary, all those athletes who constantly flew around the world?

Hopes for change faded quickly. Sports competitions have resumed in deserted stadiums with empty seats. Driven by financial interests, the major football leagues pushed the accelerator further, with more games in a short period of time.

British Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton campaigned for the Black Lives Matter. Like here at the German Grand Prix in October.Height Dutch / AFP photo

However, something special happened this summer. It was as if the inertia of sport and its hollow aftershocks in dead arenas and closed bubbles had brought the great athletes back into themselves, and to the question of what really matters. It looked like the athletes were going to draw a line this year, too. They became activists, took sides in social affairs or spoke of grave mistakes that always remained under the rug. more than ever.

Memphis Depay had already participated in the Black Lives Matter demonstration in Dam Square when Naomi Osaka refused to play tennis in America because more important things were happening in the world. Spontaneously, strikes erupted throughout American professional sport. The tall men also participated in the NBA, from their Florida bubble where they were locked up together. They did not resume playing until after agreements on anti-racism campaigns and a vote in the presidential election. Meanwhile, Formula 1 king Lewis Hamilton reached hundreds of millions of fans with his message against discrimination and racism. Also in the Netherlands, Orange players drew a line when Johan Dirksen gave a hateful joke about rapper Aquasey in “Voetbal Inside”. Foreigners have decided to boycott the TV show for the time being.

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Sport has no value, and the world of sport is by no means. Especially at a time of polarization, athletes seem to have become more aware of this. Perhaps it was a coincidence that violations in Dutch gymnastics really appeared this year, they fit in the spirit of 2020. Intimidation, verbal abuse, physical abuse; From last year, it should no longer be hidden. In El Pasant, former gymnasts have raised the fundamental question of how expensive it will be to succeed and whether the safety of top athletes is not at stake.

Just what will be left of the new athlete empowerment and ethical issues in the post-Corona era? Do footballers remain in solidarity with one another to the point that they leave the field together, as happened recently with Paris Saint-Germain when the fourth referee made a racist statement? It will become clear if this is a real change in the attitude of the athletes when the stadiums are filled again and dirt comes again from the stands.

Parents watch outside the sports field to see how their children can still play the sport.  Height Dutch / ANP photo
Parents watch outside the sports field to see how their children can still play the sport.Height Dutch / ANP photo

Will sports organizations learn something from this year? At present, there is little to indicate this. Players’ unions and their coaches can warn against the dangers of psychological and physical pregnancy and a wave of injuries; Heavy television contracts stipulated that all championships and competitions must pass. The players who protested – like Kevin De Bruyne – kept screaming in the desert. Dutch clubs are also in desperate need of TV money. The big question for 2021 is how many clubs will not survive this crisis, so that the damage to the entire sporting world becomes visible in the coming year.

Right now, we’re facing a soccer surplus that is hurting, as evidenced by low viewership numbers. The gloomy atmosphere of chanting concrete slabs over and over underscores what it has been missing so much: the audience and with it the experience. People who sit next to each other in the stands with a croquette sandwich or a cola or beer, and for them football is an important side issue in life or even more than that.

Cycling was perhaps the least inconvenient for the crowd to be absent. The dramatic demise of Primoz Roglic and Jumbo-Visma on the tour, Wilco Kelderman’s solo fight in Giro and the unparalleled victory of Mathieu van der Poel on the Flanders Tour: Best TV. For the most part, it was a pity that the burgundy décor for the pimple-out Flemish people like Oude Kwaremont was missing.

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The audience had to turn away from Kwaremont on the Flanders tour.  BELGA image
The audience had to turn away from Kwaremont on the Flanders tour.BELGA image

The enthusiasm faded in late summer again in the fall, with all that sport empty in the empty yards. Even as recreational athletes, we are no longer permitted into the hall or lawn. We are getting fatter and more weird. OMT and RIVM line officials, or rather that virus, sidelined all amateur athletes once again. While the shopping streets and Ikeas were still happily filled, the social and dynamic strength of the sport was undermined more than ever. Conclusion, at the end of this year? There were great sporting moments after all. We enjoyed Harrie Lavreysen, but also Anna van der Breggen, Patrick Roest, Kirsten Wild and Femke Bol, from Luuk de Jong who gave Sevilla to win the European League, and the dazzling AZ who beat Ajax in Amsterdam and beat Bayern who humiliated Barcelona .

But above all it was a sad sporting year. There wasn’t much sport in 2020. It’s canceled, it’s moved. And what was there was very curtailed.

Perhaps this year it became clear why the sport is so primitive. You only know what you’re missing when it’s not there. Sport provides us with entertainment and comfort, let us cheer or cheer us up, with a restorative beer in the canteen afterwards, or a conversation the next day at a coffee machine.

Sport maintains our physical and mental health and provides social connections outside of our own bubbles. Yes, the sport has bad excesses, but it also provides a platform to make the world a little better again. And what do we need, like this valve.

Note: Please only send Jaap Edens to Harrie Lavreysen and the family of the suddenly deceased short track skater Lara van Ruijven.

Lack of “muscle pain afterward”

“It doesn’t mean that I usually play at a high level (the third division reserve on Sunday, I actually never excel) or that I have a sporting talent (my motor skills are impractical, to the point of wood). But as long as I remember playing football was Organize my days. I love this focused distraction. The concrete and specific pursuit of victory. Muscle aches afterward. No thoughts or other reflections while playing; In everyday life, I often sit behind a curtain, anxious, but as long as I play football, I don’t I want something more than winning, goal blocking, and scoring – and then it doesn’t matter to the rest of the world. Logically speaking, the need for it has only increased since the pandemic began, given that the main rhetoric of the news reports was more pessimistic than before and there was no distraction. I sat at home alone for days on end, waiting without knowing what.

Part of “Voetbal in Corona Time” by Thomas Heerma van Voss in “Hard Gras”, December 2020, Ed. Ambu Antos.

Empty stalls, no one will listen

As always, Mart Smits closely followed the sport this year. He wrote about it with love, sometimes disgust, and sometimes surprise. For example, on Fox Sports, watch the celebration of Demi Schuurs and Kveta Peschke after winning the Women’s doubles at the Cincinnati Championship. He sees them a little embarrassed as they show their cups to one photographer and photographer. Silence in the background. Then the players thank you. Note: in front of a completely empty stadium, with the same coaches looking lazily from the stands and with the sponsor’s representative who is half happy. They thank the soccer boys and the ball girls, and say they want to return next year and wish their opponents all the best for the rest of the season. Hollow words. Empty stalls, nobody is listening, it’s petty and worse, gamers pretend to be happy.

From “Silent Sports, Sports Stories”, Mart Smits, November 2020, ed. Circle

The game is 110 days from home

In his Silent Fields pamphlet, journalist Hans Klippus meticulously records the sport’s special year as a historian. With big stories and little tales, like the one about a Samoan rugby team that left the tropical island in mid-February for a training camp in New Zealand and a match in Australia. But after the heavy loss in Perth (27-52), the Samoans are unable to return home. A tight lockdown has been announced in their country; No one is allowed on the island anymore. The rugby players move into a church dormitory in Auckland. In the end, they wait there two and a half months. Twenty men kill time with fitness and bingo. The sign in Samoa will turn green at the end of May. An unpleasant surprise awaits her there: the athletes must be quarantined for fourteen days before they can go to their families. In general, they are 110 days away from home for that game in which they lost away.

From “Silent Fields, Strange Sports Stories of Lockdown,” Hans Klippus, November 2020, ed. Edecula

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Sport has also been hit hard by the Corona pandemic this year. Financial concerns are high and the lack of exercise has increased. Serious violations appeared in gymnastics. Tamara Van Arak (46), No. 2 on the VVD list for the March elections, has held the position of Sports Minister since July. conversation.

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