American Football: a player’s perspective on lockdown

Teddy – Year 11 Student & Great Britain U17 American Football

Editor’s Note: Teddy (Year 11) is a talented and passionate American Football player, currently representing the Yorkshire Academy Assassins and Great Britain at U17 age group level. He was recently asked by the national development program to write an article on the subject of training during the Covid-19 lockdown period. English teacher Mrs Merrick was certainly impressed with his efforts: “I think this is sensational writing! It is controlled, arresting; it engaged my interest immediately. The variation in paragraph and sentence structures is spot-on and really strikes the correct balance between giving great, heart-felt advice and reassurance without ever sounding patronising. The tone is totally appropriate, and that is a hard feat to achieve in these extraordinary times.” ADM

Dealing with the disruption: a player’s perspective

When challenged, we must persevere.

The spread of, and ensuing response to Covid-19, has without doubt impacted on our society as a whole. However, the brunt of the disruption is felt individually due to our artificial, though necessary, isolation. Personally, as a Year 11 student, there can be a tendency to feel crestfallen and even forsaken in these unpredictable times. The interruption of vital day to day activity seems profoundly negative, making it easy to
develop an overridingly pessimistic attitude towards lockdown procedures. I can only offer my condolences to those who have lost loved ones in these unfortunate circumstances, as well as my gratitude to the NHS staff working to save those who are suffering from this hidden and indiscriminate killer.

That said, in times of crisis, a change in perspective can significantly alter our perception of our surroundings, often for the better. This intrusion into our day-to-day lifestyles in fact provides unprecedented, unique opportunities.

It is often said that the most successful people in society thrive in times of disruption. We should therefore try to learn from this.

This is a time for improvement.

Athletically or academically – ideally, both.

It is a time to gain a competitive advantage. So we should utilise this time somehow for our individual development.

Read a book, do a workout, learn to play an instrument, apply yourself in an unashamedly fixated manner. The opportunity to allocate your own time to this extent may never occur again.

Aside from that, we are unified; not just in our disrupted sleep patterns, and questionable diets, but also by the sport we love. Our connected community serves as a steady point of reference throughout this time of uncertainty. Does this not reflect American football itself? We are group of individuals, united in the face of adversity.

Do not be disillusioned by the disruption. Stay safe and stay at home, yes, but also seize the chance improve yourself and connect online with others.

I recall the final two lines of the poem ‘Invictus’ by William Ernest Henley, written in 1875:

I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.

Although the poem primarily focuses on human intrusion into our day to day lives (and was recited by Winston Churchill in the House of Commons in 1941 in reference to the pending Nazi invasion) the poem directly relates to our individual perseverance in the face of disruption, and to our undefeated spirit in the midst of the threat that is Covid-19.

Teddy (Year 11)

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