By Neto Baptiste
The global lockdown on sports due to the spread of the coronavirus of COVID 19, has left fans and players desperate to fill the void created by the absence of their favourite past time.
Major sporting events and competitions, ranging from the popular English Premier League (EPL) to the 2020 Olympic Games have all been affected as countries across the Globe close borders, ban public gatherings and impose curfews in attempts to curb the spread of the deadly virus.
Antigua and Barbuda is no exception as some major sporting competitions have been cancelled and others suspended with no resumption dates in sight.
This has however, forced sports craving fans to seek out alternative means of feeding their hunger for action, taking to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, putting their historical knowledge to the test as they reminisce about past sporting events, players and officials.
Leading the charge is former national women’s footballer and a vice president of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA), Akeilah Hillhouse, whose mind provoking questions on Facebook have created quite the stir amongst sports fans.
“I think a few weeks ago I had a discussion with somebody about different things I wanted to do in terms of promoting past players and so on because I don’t know them. I hear stories about them and if I don’t know then other people probably don’t know either. I saw a generic post going around [asking], what were your thoughts when you first saw me play? I said this might be perfect to start off what I wanted to do in terms of getting names of past players, upcoming players and even who people are watching for the future,” she said.
One of the most popular post to date asks Facebook users to name the best goalkeeper they have seen in local football. The post has surpassed 160 comments with users naming their favourites like Janiel “Board” Simon, Wesley Dyer, Molvin James, Keithley “Zaza” Greene, Elvis “Reptile” Anthony and others as their top selections.
Other posts as for people’s opinions on best midfielders, defenders and strikers to have graced the football fields in Antigua.
Hillhouse said the initiative has become extremely popular on social media.
“It just took off and all sorts of people started messaging me telling me to ask that question or I want to know this and they miss it [football] and this is the most fun they’ve had in a while since football shutdown and I think it lasted two days in terms of the questions coming in. people are still commenting and I am now hearing from people that I haven’t heard from in a while that lives overseas and so forth and thought that wow, this is really amazing,” the former player said.
Players from other disciplines to include cricket, track and field and basketball have also joined the movement on social media with questions like “when you first saw me play cricket what did you think?” or “when you first saw me run track what did you think?”
The craze may not totally fill the void left by not being able to watch a premier division match at the Antigua Creation Grounds (ARG) or a basketball clash at the JSC basketball complex or even a cricket showdown on Saturday or Sunday but for now, it is seemingly taken the edge off for most fans and even some players.