Footballers won’t be our heroes any more when this is all over

Will footballers still be our heroes after lockdown?

Will footballers still be our heroes after lockdown? - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Rachel Moore says our priorities are likely to change for good, just as they did in 1945. Do you agree?

Tomorrow marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day when the world emerged from World War Two knowing life would never be the same again.

Adapting to the new normal, rebuilding lives, families, cities, businesses and economies after so many had lost so much was the massive challenge ahead then.

1945 marked the end of the worst military conflict in history, with unprecedented destruction and loss of life.

Today, we celebrate those 75 years of freedom in lockdown, imprisoned in our own homes for seven weeks in an unprecedented global pandemic.

Rewind to VE Day, when celebrations erupted across the western world, especially in the UK and America, now both suffering unimaginable losses from the virus.

The UK has suffered the worst death toll in Europe, second only to the US in the world.

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To imagine then, 75 years on, we would be stopped from seeing our loved ones and family because of a pandemic, would have sounded like sci-fi.

Like 75 years ago, we’re facing another massive rebuild. Be sure, life will never be the same post-Covid-19, in any way.

While we wait for new direction from Downing Street on Sunday, we know that nothing will go back to what it was. We will move forward into a very different world.

It’s our responsibility to make it a better world, just like 75 years ago.

Cycling through a deserted Norwich city centre on Sunday afternoon, past closed shops, cafes and pubs, the realisation that this could be what the city centre landscape could look like in the new normal.

How long can our pubs, restaurants and cafes survive in mothballs? How different will our city be without the hubbub and vibrancy of that social scene.

Even if restrictions are lifted on retail, will we want to go, fully masked and gloves to buy what now feels like fripperies? Supermarket shopping is hideous enough, the very thought of browsing in shops and trying on clothes makes me shiver.

And buying anything other than essentials feels wasteful and trivial.

Show me one person who hasn’t admitted during lockdown that he or she has too much stuff.

Shopping will be the last thing on our minds when we ‘get out’, however much we know the economy needs a kickstart, and we’ve already lost household names on our high street.

But spending feels so reckless with fever-pitch worries about jobs losses and mass unemployment, so who will be shopping?

The anxiety of a crashing recession is more likely to change us into savers with a whole new attitude of minimalism and frugality.

May is the time when people start their holidays, the season kicking in, airports full.

Instead, Virgin Atlantic announces 3000 job losses and possibly leaving Gatwick Airport for good, just after British Airways proposed laying off a third of its staff and warning it might never return to Gatwick either.

Flying with restrictions again is something few of us can imagine. The idea of a flight to a city break feels inappropriate and frivolous, especially when the UK holiday industry is on its knees and needs our support.

Will this be the turning point needed for us to explore what we have within our own shores, cutting back on flights and helping our own?

It’s certainly the time to follow the climate change agenda, accelerating post-covid-19 growth with a green energy agenda.

Beside us here in Norfolk and Suffolk is the North Sea where, once again, thousands of jobs have been lost in the oil and gas industry. Is this crisis the pivot needed to create new energy jobs in carbon capture, hydrogen and accelerate the development of renewables rather than wait for the revival of an unsustainable industry that will only have to be changed later?

Will sport and crowds ever be as we knew it? Will we ever make heroes of the spoilt, preening overpaid footballers again? How can we respect them when we have now seen what our NHS staff face every day at work for pennies?

As we sit in limbo in our ‘quarantine state of mind’, fretting about what’s happening outside the front door, it’s understandable that people fear going out again.

Existing at home in a state of suspense feels far safer than facing the reality of what comes next. Change scares people and the only thing that’s certain after this pandemic, is change will come.

So much had changed in 1945, it was called Year Zero and what followed was a remarkable period of economic growth and social progress in Europe.

Will 2020 be the new Year Zero?

Most of us have made resolutions during lockdown, even if only to appreciate the simper things and take life slower, giving thanks for what we have and not dwelling on what we don’t.

It’s not just about individuals, families or even nations. A global change needs to focus on how we were living and why we do what we do and how we can do it all better.

We must reset our lives in memory of every life lost and family mourning. We must never forget to make our future better.

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