Chris Goreham: How football can help us parents stay top of the class
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Football has taught me a lot about life and as one of the many parents now faced with the prospect of adding ‘teacher’ to my list of daily duties, these are the lessons I will be falling back on while the schools are closed.
Everything I know about other countries from flags to capital cities has grown from the seeds sewn while collecting World Cup stickers and watching England in lengthy and often painful qualifying campaigns.
The motivation to listen to the maths teacher came purely from the fact that it was important to be able to work out when Norwich City might be ‘mathematically safe’ from relegation and a grasp of physics is vital to anyone trying to understand what happens when Alex Tettey shoots from long range.
Football has also been a reassuring constant during life’s more turbulent times. Many of us are missing it while it isn’t being played and it is perfectly alright to admit it.
How can anyone think about 22 people chasing after a bag of wind at a time like this? Well, it’s not actually the players I have been considering.
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Trying to digest the scale of the threat posed by the outbreak of Covid-19 was difficult for all of us as life changed so quickly and the way we worked, socialised and even communicated with our families became unrecognisable in the blink of an eye.
The day after Boris Johnson warned that it was time to stay away from pubs, restaurants and theatres I found out that 6,000 of Norwich City’s season ticket holders are over the age of 60.
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That discovery was one of the many lightning bolts that made all of this really sink in at the start of last week.
To put it bluntly around a quarter of the Canaries fans that I am so used to seeing during the season are now considered to be among the most vulnerable in society.
All of those people that I know by sight if not by name wouldn’t even be allowed to leave their house if football was being played right now, and how Carrow Road would miss them.
Football is only ever a snapshot of society so extrapolating the 27,000 inside Norwich City’s home ground across the rest of the county made me realise quite how much this was going to affect us all.
With the commentary microphone back in its box for the foreseeable future this is the first time for a decade and a half that covering Norwich City’s every move hasn’t been the main thrust of my working life.
We took calls from listeners at BBC Radio Norfolk last week who were making heart-breaking decisions. One lady had spent the previous day uninviting guests to her husband’s funeral with public gatherings no longer considered safe.
It would have been quite a depressing week were it not for the several bright lights provided by stories of how different communities were rallying round to support those most in need.
Football has its issues, but very few things in modern life bring as many people together.
The actual match on the pitch is a mere sideshow compared to the sense of belonging and all being united in a common cause that comes with having a genuine connection with a football club.
It’s that sort of spirit that we will all need to draw on to help each other through the next few weeks and probably even months.
I don’t know when we’ll all see each other again at Carrow Road but I am sure that the first rendition of On The Ball City will be belted out with a spine tingling gusto.