Thanks again for all the great messages and emails regarding my thoughts. We are so glad to know that we are still in your thoughts as much as we are thinking about you. So here are a few more thoughts to keep you close and thinking about soccer...
These days everyone has the same data regarding the present and the same ignorance regarding the future. Remember that this is a completely different game against a new team that came from nowhere and we were never prepared for this kind of competition.
Trying to adjust our game tactics and incorporate the most successful moves we have available, I think we will have to agree with the science and SPACE will be our best strategy. Doctors know many things about this Coronavirus but there are many more we don't know. However one thing we always knew is that SPACE makes a huge difference. SPACE in between people and SPACE in the health care system.
We talk almost every week in soccer practice about space. Space equals time and time equals quality. Space to receive the ball gives you time to make a good decision and more time will give you better quality on your next play. The health care system needs space so this will give them time to find the best care for all and we need more space for more beds and better isolation of patients. In this Pandemic space equals not spreading the disease, that equals time for the health care system to give you quality health care and win this game.
In medicine we use mnemonics to memorize many concepts so I will use SPACE to remind us of the next 5 different tactics that will help us to continue win this game.
Social distance. This idea is so confusing and contradicting to everything we value as a Club. We encourage socialization and friendship but now we need you to be isolated. We praise team work in training but now you need to practice on your own. Everyone is asking why we don't have any medicines to kill this virus or vaccines to protect us... the answer for now is social distance is your prescription, no side effects, no cost, no insurance. Social distance is your best protection even better than masks and gloves. "PLAY SIMPLE" we coach. The best players play simple: make space between you and your friends. The best patients now create space. "It is so difficult to play simple", we always hear. "It is so difficult to keep space", we now tell to the Docs. "It's the best coaching and always works" we are told. It works best and for now it's the only treatment we know for sure works. Today, tomorrow, next week and the week after that. Social distance works, space works, just trust the docs, just trust the coaching.
Persistency. Just stay there, in that space because the ball is coming. How difficult it is to stay in that tiny spot on the field. We all want to run to the ball, like when you are little: 10 players running around the field chasing one ball like a small mob. Remember this? Remember everyone telling you from the sidelines: "stay in your position"? Now it's overcrowding publics areas that is not helpful, like crowding around the ball is not helpful. Space is the best treatment. We need each player in his/her position on the field. We need each family in their own house. Simple, one player, one area, nice and organized, one team, but physically separate from each other. Simple, one family, one house, in one neighborhood. Persistent directions persistently obeyed will get us out of this crisis faster. PLAY SIMPLE: follow the plan persistently even though it feels like the ball will never come into your space. Persistence is our winning strategy.
Avoid risks factors. Prevention has always been the most important skill you can learn in your lifetime and this is no exception. Avoiding bad habits: sugar, smoking, vaping and alcohol makes the best athletes. This virus hates healthy people and good athletes but does like to compete and take advantage of smokers, vapers and alcoholics because it knows it can beat them easier. Obesity and fitness always go together. In sports and mostly in soccer, once you see a team that is not fit your eyes open wide because you know you can outrun that player. This virus knows the same thing and tries to find overweight and unfit players to win easier. So stay fit, so you can stay away from illness and outrun this virus. PLAY SIMPLE, live simple, you will see the benefits.
Cabin Fever/Communicate. Governor Cuomo talked about this concept of Cabin Fever. How difficult it is to stay inside your own house for such a long time. What can you do? Watch a soccer game, make yourself useful at home, practice another move and do not forget to communicate with your team every day. Video communication is surprisingly satisfying. Everyone is waiting for a phone call, zoom chat, text message. Don't isolate yourself and don't allow your teammates to stay isolated. Support each other and communicate. Make any excuse to communicate with someone every day. Each of us has his own Cabin Fever but we also have many opportunities to communicate with each other, so use them every day.
Embrace CDC guidelines now!!! Stay where you are. You look for us from the field many times because you are bored, waiting in that space, nothing is happening, ball is not coming, you are not playing... we coach you and keep coaching you: "stay there, create space, the ball is coming". Now you are home, it's so boring, feels that you are wasting your time, nothing is happening, you can't see any problem out there, you can't see the virus, it feels worthless... but doctors keep coaching us: stay there, it's working, be patient, you are helping us and home the best space you can be. PLAY SIMPLE, play the space and watch our leaders for coaching.
PLAY SIMPLE, make space on the field. PLAY SIMPLE, stay home. Create long distances so the virus can't reach the next player.
Last but not least this week religious celebrations (Passover and Easter) give us a great opportunity to remember that family time, quality time and hope will continue to be our first priorities and soccer and team gatherings can wait.
I will like to finish with a nice quote I saw today from Winston Churchill... "Now, this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning" so let's keep going strong.
We wish you all a Holy Week. A hopeful week and joy for all this space we are able to create for each other and between each other... the rest are just details.