Fans missing their escape from reality | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 27, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:43 AM, March 27, 2020

Fans missing their escape from reality

After a lousy day at office or school, navigating all the chaos around the city and bearing long hours of traffic, the one thing that people try to find peace in at the end of the day is seeing their favorite club or team playing the game they love. Sport is not only a source of entertainment but also kind of an escape from reality for most people.

Whether it be tuning in to a UEFA Champions League clash or seeing Rafael Nadal fighting tooth and nail for his 20th Grand Slam, it is through sport that people try to forget all their hassles.

But for more than a week now, everything around the globe has come to a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Major sporting events have all been postponed indefinitely with lockdowns imposed around the world.

While athletes are trying to maintain fitness during this perilous time with the hope of returning to the field soon, fans are spending time watching training videos on social media and re-watching highlights of their favourite games.

Even in a cricket crazy nation like Bangladesh, there are a huge number of people who follow European football. And during this time, some fans have grown impatient with nothing new on offer and would give anything to see two teams going at each other.

"At this point I am ready to watch football matches between clubs of even unpopular leagues. I would watch it with the same level of excitement that I have while watching a Champions League final. I even watched the Turkish league before it got cancelled. I am even ready to watch people playing in the streets through my window, but now that everyone is staying indoors, that is also not possible," said Ishraq Bashar, an avid football fan.

While some fans just want to see the football rolling, some are anxious about what will happen if the season does not resume.

This is especially a tough time for fans of Premier League giants Liverpool, who had all but confirmed a league title with an incredible 27 wins, one draw and one loss. It would have been their first league win since the 1989-1990 season, but now there are talks of declaring the season 'null and void'.

Liverpool fan Shashwato Pratik said that while it would be unfortunate to see Liverpool being denied the title, he would gladly wait another 30 years to see his club triumph instead of risking lives.

"We have not won the title for 30 years. It now seems the whole world is against Liverpool winning it. Everyone is just hoping something, be it Manchester City or coronavirus, to stop Liverpool from getting the trophy. I am actually enjoying this. It will be unfortunate if the season is declared null and void but given the situation, I think it is fine. If I stay alive, I would gladly wait another 30 years to see Liverpool win the trophy," sighed Pratik.

Meanwhile, some fans are finding it hard to cope with the uncertainty that looms over the resumption of sporting events.

"We do not know when the games will start. Usually at the end of a season there is a break. But we know how long that break is and we keep on counting the days. But this is really uncertain. We are at home now and we literally have nothing to do. This would have been the best time for us to see some matches because there is nothing much else to do," explained Shahjeer Ehsaan, who usually follows the Premier League and UCL.

Fans are also trying to stay connected to the sport they love even while being quarantined. Playing video games, sneaking out and going to their rooftop to play or even juggling with a ball inside their house, sport fanatics are finding ways to keep themselves busy.

Jawad Mahmud Chowdhury, a 24-year-old who represents his university football team and usually spends his time playing different local tournaments, explained how he was staying close to football during this crisis.

"It is really frustrating. Previously we had no time to play but a lot of eagerness. Now we have time as well as the urge to play but opportunities are not there. I often juggle a football in my room. I also completed the stay-at-home challenge [juggling a roll of toilet paper] that all the [professional] players are currently doing," said Jawad.

While sharing their thoughts, all these sports enthusiasts agreed on one thing: the best thing that can happen now is to wake up one day and hear that normalcy has returned.


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