The Experiences of a Rugby Groundsman in Lockdown
I am currently undergoing a very strange experience as a rugby groundsman, I’m not working flat out to get eight cricket squares and outfields ready or renovating rugby pitches, working 12-hour days or 6 days a week. Instead I’m at home not allowed to do any work-related activity for three months at least.
As I sit here writing this, I am finding it not so difficult as I have hobbies and a counselling course to continue to fill my time, but strangely I can look at my work emails but l cannot action them. I have two team members and a father and son who live together, so it makes perfect sense to have them in as they can be within 6ft of each other, but I can’t communicate with them.
I feel jealous of their freedom to walk the area we look after, which equates to 120 acres above the weald of Kent. The ability to be in such a large area has never before felt such a privilege, to see for 30 plus miles into Sussex and to see the south downs in the distance. Jealous of the ability to make decisions to plan work activity, I never thought I would see these as something to enjoy or treasure, but in this strange situation those are my exact emotions.
Now I’m sure this time next year I will look back and say oh, I wish I had the time I had last year to do my garden. The PE staff will again be demanding the almost impossible and yet again we will complete the work.
I am lucky that I will be paid for this furlough and I know some of you reading this won’t be so fortunate, so for all our sakes I hope this is over soon and we can all return to normality.
Something that can be overlooked at this unusual time we are all facing is the effect on our mental health and wellbeing. The pressures of working in strange times and the pressure of no work either paid or unpaid.
The biggest strain can be the feeling of loneliness of being isolated, I find that any form of communication, is better than none. Yes, social media can be unpleasant and time consuming at its worse, but now is the time to use it for the better. Reconnect with old school friends, people who you played sport with in the past.
Set up a zoom group of fellow groundsmen anything to connect, make sure if you’re at work you take breaks. I know we don’t usually have those this time of year and say hi to someone online build a new support group and most importantly talk to your other half.
When I was first informed, I was being furloughed my boss was concerned that I wouldn’t cope with this and I said don’t worry, as with my health conditions I’m used to long periods off work and this will be so different as I can move from the sofa.
We have decided during the week to only have the tv on after 4pm and not to access the news until then. This gives structure and avoids the news, speculation among the media is at an all-time high and the avalanche of bad news can be too much to digest. Therefore, it is important to fill the time, with the weather being so good the garden is a haven, then I have my trains in the loft.
My train layout is a real passion of mine and a whole world of interest and a safe space from the grim daily news. I believe hobbies and interest are the key to keeping safe physically and mentally well in this period of danger and uncertainty we are living in. keep yourselves busy, don’t concentrate on what can’t be done but look only at what can be done.
Find a new hobby or skill or go back to an old one, develop a part of the garden so far neglected, if you can there are opportunities to volunteer in your local community. This can help not only help others but yourself, by filling time and being productive.
I’ve set up a couple of what’s app pages for old friends and every day we are communicating checking up on each other, along with having a laugh. In these times, we normally live in time is such a rare commodity so sparse so use it, enjoy it I doubt we will have such a similar opportunity again it would be a shame to waste it.
Ps-If you want to leave me any questions,there is a comment box below this blog.
If you need a laugh ,also take a look at this recent blog from the team at Dormansland Cricket Club-https://turfcareblog.com/the-time-team-dormansland-cricket-club/