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Ryan Haire: Coronavirus pandemic has interrupted my last year of top level cricket with North Down but it also gives us all perspective

 

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Ryan Haire in action for North Down

Ryan Haire in action for North Down

Ryan Haire

Ryan Haire

Mandatory C - redit Darren Kidd/

Ryan Haire in action for North Down

We are asking our sporting personalities how they are dealing with action coming to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic and how it has affected their daily lives.

Today, we speak to North Down batsman and former Ireland international cricketer Ryan Haire.

Q: How are you keeping?

A: Fine thanks. I've been working from home and generally busy as my wife's a key worker and we have two boys supposedly homeschooling! As a family, we are in good health which is the number one priority and we are thankful every day for that.

Q: How have you been affected?

A: I've been working from home for a number of weeks now and probably will for the foreseeable medium term as I'm based in an office environment generally. I'm missing my sport as we all are and I've never been at home more as I'm usually flat out coaching and playing cricket at this time of year (and have been for some 25 years). I was looking forward to one last year playing cricket at the highest local level and hopefully winning some silverware with my home club, North Down, but a competitive season is looking ever more unlikely. Suffice to say I'm missing cricket for various reasons and was also planning on umpiring when I could at NCU level in 2020 which will have to wait.

Q: How are you keeping fit?

A: I get out with my boys daily on bikes or for walks and enjoy the odd run and home fitness session (especially Joe Wicks for kids each morning which we all enjoy). I miss getting to the gym but I'm sure it won't be long before normality resumes and we as a club can start outdoor training even in small groups or one-to-one.

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Ryan Haire

Ryan Haire

Mandatory C - redit Darren Kidd/

Ryan Haire

 

Q: How are you maintaining morale, yours and the team?

A: It's a state of mind and, to be honest, having the kids at home keeps the mind busy and free from negative thoughts like missing sport. The North Down guys have been quizzing and active on WhatsApp and, as I live in Comber, you do bump into guys for a chat often. I know all the guys are missing all aspects of cricket, competitive and social, and I hope we can get some good news this week regarding training and playing.

Q: Where are you drawing your personal strength from now?

A: I feel it's given everyone great perspective and really appreciate everyone who is continuing to keep the country "up and running" through this, risking their health and that of their families for the benefit of all. Although I miss sport, I realise I suppose, as I've always done, that it is secondary to family and indeed health so it's reinforced my views and I feel that would be the viewpoint of many sportspeople.

Q: Can you recommend a book, film or box set you think stay at home sports fans might enjoy?

A: I like reading and, since doing my umpiring qualifications, have read a few good umpiring autobiographies such as Billy Bowden and the Crooked Finger which I would recommend to any cricket lover. I also scan YouTube for T20 highlights as I love that form of the game and have watched a number of good cricket documentaries lately including the Al Jazeera Match Fixing programme which shocked me as to the extent to which certain tournaments are seemingly being influenced globally.

Q: What life lessons are you learning from this?

A: My granddad always reminded me that patience is a virtue seldom spared and I've really come to believe in this over the past numbers of weeks. Being forced into a slower more home-based routine has helped me to work a few things out in terms of both sport and family life. In a funny way, a lot of people will have been given the thinking time they may never have been able to find in their normal lives and hopefully people have become closer and stronger as individuals and communities owing to the crisis.

Q: What is the first thing you will do when this is all over?

A: As lockdown eases, I will probably find myself out and about more with my two young boys so I would envisage a little cricket practice, especially with the elder boy, Sam who is six, at the North Down club nets. He has been asking about kids' practice over the last few weeks so I will probably find myself coaching with the "minis" and back playing hopefully in July!

Q: And your message to sports fans?

A: Be patient and a reminder our sport is, for 99% of us, amateur and not a career. I always laughed at local cricketers talking about their cricketing careers and hope it's reminded overly competitive types that it's a privilege to play the game and as a game it's the fun element that should be paramount. Hopefully we can all get back to normal shortly and renew acquaintances on and off the field.

Belfast Telegraph