Tennis Lockdown – Part 1
Like most business owners, the last few weeks has been something else. The tennis industry is no different and what a wild ride it has been.
The circulation of the virus, Covid-19, has resulted with the government shutdowns of facilities, businesses and also how people can interact with each other.
So as new rules and guidelines were released, we, as tennis coaches, adapted our lessons to include more social distancing and introducing a no hand shake or high five rule. I was confident that we, as a sport and as an industry, were very well placed on the ‘risk’ scale of the virus and at no point felt the need to voluntarily stop our tennis program.
Then the day finally came where our main tennis facility, Scarborough Tennis Club, was jointly closed down between the City of Stirling local government and also tennis as a sport was considered to be unsafe by Tennis Australia/Tennis West and other government directions.
Over 400 weekly students needed to be informed that we were ceasing operations immediately. Even though the decision was out of my control, I felt the stress of how we deal with our clients and the disappointment of being the bearer of bad news to the coaching team and all the young players. This was an intense period.
But in a matter of 48 hours everything was sorted and for a few days anyway, I was pretty fired up about the situation. My business which I have built over 13 years had been shutdown overnight. All these tennis players played outside exercising in the sunshine, breathing fresh air, taking in vitamin D and physically and mentally improving themselves. I didn’t then and probably never will see how the argument for staying home is better than playing tennis in the outside? Given I had time on my hands, I spent a lot of time researching the vast number of other doctors coming forward with information on the virus which was contrary to so much mainstream media opinion. These contradictions continued with some businesses being allowed open and others not. In fairness to the authorities, this was and still is a tricky time for making the right decisions for the community and something that is new/unknown and highly contagious is clearly difficult to handle. Fair to say it takes a bit of getting used to when your business is shutdown, irrespective of the reason.
But for us in tennis, suddenly we couldn’t hit balls on a tennis court anymore. None of us could help others with their tennis game? Our purpose had gone and our future was uncertain. How long was this going to last? What do I do financially if this was to continue? Will this ever go back to being the same? Should I explore other options to earn income? I felt a huge wave of responsibility to provide for my family and then thinking about my coaching team and their future was simply overwhelming.
But any plan is better than no plan. I knew that I had to research and learn about the Government funding opportunities and also find ways to cut or eliminate costs for the business. I also knew that I had to keep communicating with our players/followers on social media by uploading some videos of fitness or tennis activities that could be done at home or in their daily exercise regime.
So on a piece of paper I wrote down the following:
- Government Funding
- Social Media
Then I think I went back to my red wine and Ozarks on Netflix. Wasn’t all bad.