Way back in 1978, the definitive 'novel' on competitive cycling, 'The Rider', was published by Dutchman Tim Krabbé.
The first paragraph is arresting and a declaration that you simply must read on. The beauty is that it can apply to any competitive sport.
"Meyrueis, Lozère, June 26, 1977. Hot and overcast. I take my gear out of the car and put my bike together. Tourists and locals are watching from sidewalk cafés. Non-racers. The emptiness of those lives shocks me."
The last line is as good a description of the insanity that can grip anyone involved in Gaelic games.
Never is that attitude felt more keenly than when a team comes onto a field on the first day of the season and catches sight of the spectators.
For all the preparation that comes prior to a season, running through the muck of January or the frost and snow of February, the heart to heart meetings and the insecurities, the mind has to play a nifty trick. It has to convince itself that this is life and death stuff. That every single soul in this parish wants to be you, looking for a jersey.
Those people on the bank? They would do anything, ANYTHING, to be in your boots.
How they must envy your fitness and youth! How the emptiness of their lives shocks you!
And those you are facing? Well, because they were not born and raised within the confines of your parish, they are simply a lower caste. Poor them.
What if there is nobody there on the bank, however?
Playing a match itself is not high risk. Sharing cars is sheer madness.
If restrictions are relaxed, then this weekend a maximum of 200 people will be permitted inside the gates of a ground for a game. The traditional tingle and tension that surrounds an opening tie just might be dulled.
And that's how this season is going to feel, because this virus, no matter how much 'It'll be grand' optimism we surround ourselves with, is on its way back.
Between Friday and Monday, 16 new cases were confirmed in Northern Ireland. On June 19, a total of 995 tests were carried out and none resulted in a positive test.
The natural by-product of restrictions being eased has occurred. Go into pubs up and down the country and you'll see for yourself how social distancing is maintained. In most people's minds, it's over.
You can't blame that on people relaxing with alcohol either.
On Sunday, I was in my local shop. A ladies' football team had stopped off to grab cups of takeaway coffee. If I was puzzled at the lack of social distancing they practiced, I was amazed as they all got back into their cars in threes and fours.
The scientific evidence holds that you are 19 times more likely to pick up the virus in an indoor setting than an outdoor one. Playing a match itself is not high risk. Sharing cars is sheer madness.
That was during a bizarre weekend where clubs criss-crossed their province to play challenge matches.
Already, we are seeing outbreaks of infection.
Attical in Down have cancelled activities until this Sunday after a club member tested positive for Covid-19 and have been tracing all contacts.
Three clubs in Cork reported infections. Dublin club Man O'War have shut down activities.
All that, though, is chicken feed compared to the mess that is international air travel. American Airlines have resumed three weekly flights to Dublin and even though Texas has been ravaged by coronavirus (40,000 new cases this week alone), there is no arrangement for arrivals to be quarantined.
Several US states aren't even accepting flights coming from Texas.
New Zealand - two islands with an almost identical population to these shores - declared themselves Covid-free a month ago after the incredible leadership of their Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern and yet their borders remain closed to non-citizens. That stance is supported by 80% of the population in the latest poll.
Behind the scenes here, preparations are in full swing. Despite alarms being raised about the provision and supply of Personal Protective Equipment for healthcare workers, this is in hand.
Magherafelt company Bloc Blinds have taken over the Meadowbank Sports Arena in the town and have 300 socially-distanced workers manufacturing PPE for NHS workers.
Back in early May, the media was invited to take a look at their work - manufacturing 400,000 items daily for a second wave.
They have been loading eight 40ft trailers every day since mid-June.
This Sunday, that figure is due to double to 16 containers and it will stay at that level.
A recent study by the Academy of Medical Sciences has estimated the number of coronavirus-related hospital deaths in the UK could hit 120,000 between September and June 2021, more than double the tally so far this year.
Perhaps we will avoid the worse-case scenario.
And this will jar with the overall feelgood factor of everyone getting back out to play a bit of sport this weekend. But I'd prefer to trust in the world of science rather than blind faith. All we can hope is for good guidance taking the edge off bad luck.