History records the character and nature of the ‘Roaring 20s’ the ‘Swinging 60s’ and the ‘Naughty 90s’. From ancient times, every era has its own mood, events and elements unique to its own time. Grandparents look back through ‘rose coloured glasses’ recalling the fellowship, unity of purpose and comradery of us Brits during the war years. It very much looks like history will record our time as the ‘Covid Era.’
It seems like an eternity that we were able to indulge in the luxury of travel, association and the freedom we took for granted before the constraints of masks, social distancing and staying home in family ‘bubbles’. The thought struck me that the generation of children born in 2020 will grow up believing we are not properly dressed without a face mask. Now there’s a thought!
Way back in 1914, Sir Edward Grey, then the British Foreign Secretary, remarked to a friend. “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again”. Fortunately, Greys’ pessimism was not to be realised, as Europe came out of the war in November 1918.
Jumping forward a third of a century to 1938 when war was becoming increasingly inevitable, Winston Churchill used similar words in a radio broadcast alerting citizens to the awesome battles that lay ahead and endured for over a decade.
In many ways we have all been involved in a current war with an unseen enemy we are told is the Covid 19 virus. It has impacted the lives of millions and a tragedy for those who have suffered and lost loved ones.
Thousands of years ago the Persian philosopher and poet, Omar Khayyam wrote,
The moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all the Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
nor all the tears wash out a Word of it.
Profound words indeed. Time moves on and even Covid will pass.
Government announcements earlier this week confirmed that we do, at last, have a ‘Road Map’ for recovery and the lights are progressively being turning back on in all our lives. After each social era, there were changes, necessary adjustments and a dawning ‘New Norm’ that would go on to define a new age.
Lessons have been learned, social freedoms and habits revised and a great debt to be repaid. One suspects that life after Covid will never be quite like it was before the arrival of this accursed virus. Nevertheless, life goes on and our appetite for action, experience and happiness remain undaunted as we strive to accommodate the challenges we face.
Sport and recreation are certainly positive elements that can work to the benefit of all. At Plymouth Albion lessons have been learned, plans made and a visionary ambition posted confirming the optimism and enthusiasm emanating from our Brickfields Home.
Albion’s currency and standing in the community is rooted in the performance of our 1st XV. Plymouth Albion continues to pursue sporting excellence and success on the field of play in elite-level rugby. However, commercial lessons learned in recent years combined with the impact of Covid have
resulted in Albion’s visionary Blueprint for the future. The players are back in training and will be ready for the return of competitive rugby.
What is different from the past is Albion’s willingness to declare our Brickfield club OPEN with a WARM WELCOME and invitation to the Plymouth community to join us as one.
From this week onwards the doors at The Brickfields are open to all wishing to share our facilities, amenities and the expertise of our staff and members.
While International and Premiership rugby moves to further distancing and removal into the dizzy heights of, celebrity, exclusivity and financially driven goals, Plymouth Albion are saying – Come in. YOU are welcome and this is the Ocean City community and family club of the ‘future normal’ we can all embrace.
This Saturday (the 17th) the club is open for those comfortable and able to visit. We will be hosting an open day from ten till six with a barbeque, beer garden and live music with plenty of space to keep bubbles of 6 secure as we formally open the new gym, rehab suite and coffee bar to the public.
In the pursuit of health, fitness and well-being there are several routes up the hill with most systems having some merit, we think we happen to have a very good one! First up is the opening of Albion’s Specialist Brickfield Gym to the public. Entitled ‘The Bunker’ our gym has been repurposed to provide a space to training space close to the heart of the city equipped with all the equipment needed to prepare our 1st XV.
This is supported by the Albion Therapy and Rehab facility where our head of sports therapy Mark Mears is making his considerable expertise available to all-comers.
And finally, thanks to a huge amount of support from the backroom staff and supporters, we have the Hub coffee shop serving drinks and healthy snacks. Within The Hub, we will also be unveiling the Albi 2020 heroes wall displaying the names of those who stood up to support the club during our toughest time. All three facilities will now be available for you, the people of Plymouth to use so do come and have a tour!
The RFU and those in rugby’s high places appear to be using the Covid Crisis to change the face and nature of our game. Diverting an ever-increasing percentage of central funding to those few who breathe the rarefied atmosphere of International and Premiership rugby serving the purpose of a few. I believe they are wrong.
I suggested to RFU CEO Bill Sweeney that his legacy could well be a major schism and parting of the ways in what was once the universal rugby family. We stand or fall by the decisions we make. Plymouth Albion has posted a clear and transparent vision for the future. Time now for the Ocean City, our commercial, political and rank and file citizens to make a decision. Join us, together we can achieve valuable, meaningful and great things for our community.