By Ryan Brown
The resumption of professional sport has hit the headlines with testing protocols, positive cases and empty stands, but the amateur world has had it’s own issues throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Back in March, like everything, sport simply stopped.
For amateur club Dennistoun Thistle and their manager Chris Irving, the lockdown brought and a frustrating end to their season with the club in fine league form and a cup final on the cards.
That disappointment isn’t the only thing for Chris and his players to deal with though.
The sudden curtailment of their football fix has clear consequences.
“The truth is, I’ve not lost that many players but the atmosphere has been dead because people don’t know when we are going to be back.
“I have got some big egos in the team and they need to be playing, they need to be, ” said Chris.
The part-time referee also touched on the mental health aspect of not being able to get out and play his sport.
He added: ” I struggled personally.
“I was constant before, I was working during the week, I was going to the gym afterwards, coaching on a Tuesday and then a game on Saturday and straight to refereeing games in the afternoon.
“For someone who struggles with mental health, it was tough, very tough.
“I was fortunate that I could get out and do some running cause some of the guys couldn’t do anything and football was their only release.”
It’s not just the sport of football either.
Amateur rugby players put in serous training hours to build up their weight, strength and ability and once again, that was put on hold for them.
Rory Dominy is a 20-year-old who plays for Garnock Rugby Club.
He spoke of similar issues about the struggle of not getting out to train.
Rory added: “It’s been a really frustrating experience.
“At the start of lockdown, I was match fit, in the best form I’ve been in for a couple of years and the team were a top contender for the league.
“A lot of the boys let themselves go because we had no targets, nothing to aim for after the chance of winning the league was stripped away from us.
“Having both the sport you love taken away as well as your friends is a right double whammy.”
All this tells us something that can never be taken lightly or underestimated.
Simply getting out and playing sport is irreplaceable.