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Sean Ward: It's important to stay in touch with each other and make time for people



Top form: Sean Ward with wife Sarah and five-month-old Caleb

Top form: Sean Ward with wife Sarah and five-month-old Caleb

Sean Ward

Sean Ward

Inpho/Stephen Hamilton

Top form: Sean Ward with wife Sarah and five-month-old Caleb

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 Crusaders FC defender Sean Ward.

Q How are you keeping?

A: I'm good. Obviously I'm missing football and I'm missing work and being in school, but at the same time I am very happy that I am able to spend so much time with my new five and a half month old baby, Caleb. He's keeping me on my toes. Obviously with a baby you've got to keep as much routine as you can so we're working to his routine and also trying to fit in our own routine, because we are working from home.

Q How have you been affected?

A: Massively. I'm a teacher, but I can't go into school. Everything that we're doing is digital, online learning. The interaction is done through email, which hasn't gone too badly, but as well as it's gone it can't replace the day-to-day running of a school, being in front of people and delivering that way. We're all really missing football. The time when COVID-19 hit and the first suspension came in was actually the week I was due to be back after being out injured from October. Just as football was due to kick-start for me it stopped. Work has been flipped upside down, football has been flipped upside down, but my wife Sarah and I have Caleb here and he's keeping us busy.

Q How are you keeping fit?

A: I am training every day. I'm doing weight training and probably running more than I ever have. As much as you can try, it never really beats the game. It can be difficult enough to stay motivated when you're doing it on your own and then when you've a five month old baby who is teething and has his own issues, it's hard to get motivated because you're sleep deprived at times. It's all about routine and structure and I find for me personally when I have routine and structure I can pretty much sail through it.

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

A: One of the biggest pluses of playing football is the changing room and the craic and interaction you have with people. WhatsApp groups are good but you certainly miss the changing room. We're all on the Strava app and pretty much holding each other accountable by the training that we are doing.

Q Where are you drawing your personal strength from now?

A: Family, my wife and now that we can have garden visits my parents have come up, my sister and my nephews have been round and Sarah's mum and dad and brothers and sisters have been round at different stages too. With Caleb being so young they just want to hold him and they can't. He is everything. You wake up in the morning and he's bright as a button and he's the happiest wee boy in the world and that wee smile is the purest, most beautiful thing I have ever seen - it's certainly great.

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

A: We've been doing the back garden and watching these flip shows with people who come in to flip houses. Some of the stuff they have been doing is incredible. I've watched Money Heist and the other night I watched I Am Legend, which is probably my favourite film of all time. My wife has watched Normal People, but I've only dipped in and out of that. The SAS Who Dares Wins programme on Channel 4 has been good too.

Q What life lessons are you learning from this?

A: When this first hit we were all relying a lot on technology. I have always been on my phone too much - and I still am, and I have to be, because I am constantly on emails. Life can be simple and you can get through it and it's so important to stay in contact with people. A few weeks ago we had our first Zoom session and a quiz with some close friends. It's something that we are going to make more time for because you need it. You can't lose touch and you can't get caught up in your bubble of where we are now. It's very important to stay close and stay in touch with each other because when we do get back to the hustle and bustle of life and everyone has their own things going on, it's very easy not to make time for people. After this I'll definitely be making more time for people.

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

A: Go out for dinner. Definitely. We've talked about it already and started making a list of where we'll go and what we'll do. We won't be short of offers to take Caleb, the grandparents will be fighting over him. I just want to enjoy seeing friends.

Q And your message to sports fans?

A: Try to be positive. Try to find something that you enjoy. It's important as much as possible that we try to establish a coping mechanism. Stay in touch with people and if you're struggling reach out, speak to people, there is lots of support out there. And the most important thing is to stay safe and take care. We're all here for each other.

Belfast Telegraph