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A Manchester United fan’s COVID-19 outbreak diary: Day 30-ish

“Sometimes maybe good, sometimes maybe sh*t”

TOPSHOT-BRITAIN-HEALTH-VIRUS Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

COVID Blog: Day ?? I don’t know anymore. It’s week four of being inside. I can tell you that much. I stopped trying to count the days, it’s just easier to count the weeks now. Hopefully we never get to the point where it’s easier to count the months.

I started updating this blog yesterday. I knew what I was going to write about all week, felt pretty passionately about it too. I could have written it at any point this week but distractions kept me away. I couldn’t finish it yesterday but figured, no big deal, I’ll just bang it out tomorrow.

Then I woke up today and getting myself to sit down and write has been tough. Extremely tough. Like I say every week, there are good days and bad days. I’ve had so many better days recently that I took it for granted that tomorrow would be the same.

It’s not. Today isn’t as good of a day. When that happens it’s important to stay strong. Remember that you’re not alone. There are plenty of people going through similar if not worse circumstances. Most importantly, remember: we will get through this.

I think the days have been better because I’ve managed to get myself into a bit of a routine. It’s mostly nonsense. My friends have developed routines as well. One of them shared his with me. It was basically “walk the dog, ride my Peloton bike, walk the dog again, yoga, walk the dog again, and sprinkle some work and TV in between all that.”

That’s basically mine too — minus the dog... and the Peloton... and the yoga. The point is it’s hard to say I’m being relatively productive during this time, and yet I’m finding that most days are flying by.

And then this weekend happened.

It was bad. It was really bad.

I know the running joke during this whole thing is that time doesn’t matter anymore, and no one knows what day it is. I have always had a good semblance of time so I’m still hyper aware of what day of the week it is. Part of that is because my fiance works at a hospital and still goes to work every day, and part of that is also because weekends are the days where I don’t have to pretend I work.

So weekends are when my routine is different. Weekends are when I get spend time with my fiance. We work out together, we watch Netflix together, and we have a ton of fun.

It’s ironic. Thursday was a bad day and I felt like that had a lot to do with the weather. I woke to a cloudy colorless sky. It was very blah outside, and thus my brain felt very blah. We recorded The Busby Babe podcast, which took two hours because we were rambling about nonsense. By the end of it, the sun had come out and I felt a lot better. I was almost annoyed that the day was over and I had to start getting dinner ready because I felt like there was so much more I could do in the day.

I figured the weather — and SAD — was a bit of a factor in my mood. On Saturday I found out I was dead wrong.

On Saturday I woke up to a beautiful sunny day and that’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I looked outside and saw the trees blooming. I smelled the air. You know what it smelled like? Spring.

Smells can be very powerful. A simple smell can flood us with memories and emotions. To me, what does spring smell like? It smells like baseball. It smells like the NHL playoffs.

It smells like squeaky bum time.

We should be in the thick of the run in. We should be welcoming Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth to Old Trafford. Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, and Anthony Martial ready to exact revenge on the Cherries for the 1-0 win they got over us back in November. Then another Europa League fixture on Thursday before a trip to Wembley for the FA Cup semi-final next Sunday.

Instead, we have nothing.

Manchester United shouldn’t have even been playing on Saturday. Thanks to the Europa League, our fixture would have definitely been Sunday, maybe even Monday if the Premier League wanted to be really evil.

That didn’t matter. Saturday was a breaking point. All I wanted to do was go to the bar and watch the football and I couldn’t. That’s all it took. The realization that we’re not getting that this year. The uncertainty of when we’ll ever do it again. Maybe the Premier League comes back over the summer — a plan I’m adamantly against — but even if that happens, will I be able to go watch the Reds at the bar with the rest of the gang? That’s all I want.

So find your routine. Force yourself to workout, even if it’s just a little. Mental health is tied to physical health. If you’re not someone that works out: start. You don’t have to do a lot, just start walking. Walk a mile one day, or walk for 20 minutes. Set rules (“can’t eat lunch until I work out”) and set very easy to attain goals. Ten pushups a day, walk a mile. Eventually you’ll be able to do some more: walk 2 miles and do 15 pushups, or run a quarter of that mile and walk the other three quarters. Make the goals easy to attain and you won’t give up.

But do it. Because these bad days will happen, and when they do, being active is the best way to get yourself out of it.

I know that not everyone can do this. Some people aren’t able, or allowed, to get outside and walk around safely. Some people are working from home and have the same pile of work on their desk as they would if they went to the office. Some don’t have work at all.

My job is heavily tied to the hospitality industry, so you can imagine things are pretty slow right now. I work for a very small company. If we survive, I have a job when this is over. For that reason, I’m lucky. As of now I don’t have to worry about trying to find a job from a smaller job pool with a much bigger applicant pool. Not everyone is that lucky.

When I started writing this latest entry it was April 8th. Exactly one month since the Manchester Derby. Just a month. One month ago we were living on edge with every touch of the ball for 90 minutes.

One month ago we were grabbing anyone who was near us in anticipation as we saw Ederson throw that ball out to no one. We realized something might happen when we saw that the closest man to that ball was Scott McTominay, and Ederson was way off his line, McTominay was going to try to shoot, all he had to do was put it on target...

Delirium. Game, set, and match. Two-nil. Manchester is Red.

That feels like a lifetime ago.

Book Recommendations

No United book this week but here’s the football one:

The Barcelona Legacy by Jonathan Wilson

Really good read about the Barcelona style of play as influenced by Johan Cruyff, how that extended to Louis Van Gaal, Pep Guardiola, and José Mourinho, and the ways it influenced how all of their careers played out.