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'Hang in there. Like my pregnancy when things got tough, this pandemic is going to end': Gail Redmond

The waiting game: how our top sports names are managing the crisis

Gail Redmond

We are asking our sporting personalities how they are dealing with action coming to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic. Today, we speak to Gail Redmond, Women's Domestic Manager at the Irish FA Foundation and manager of the Glentoran women's team.

Q How are you keeping?

A: Currently I'm on maternity leave, so I'm off! My daughter, Eliza, is four-months-old and newborn babies are more at risk because their immune systems aren't fully developed and they don't have all their injections yet, so we do need to be careful. For me, I'm trying to keep things the same as much as I can, keep planning my day and still live, do things I haven't done before, read books and just enjoy life the best that I can even though it looks like we're standing still by staying at home.

Q How is the virus affecting you?

A: We're only going out if we definitely have to and we're listening to the advice the government's been telling us. I've a lot of family in the medical field, so I've been taking my lead off them and doing everything we can to stay safe. In work, I was meant to be on the Pro Licence next week to Switzerland but that can be rescheduled for later in the year. We have loads of things scheduled in May and June, we were changing our mentoring programme, but we can push all that back. When you look at it in the grand scheme of things, it's not that important. As much as we want to finish our seasons, and then we were also supposed to be starting the Women's Premiership as well, you just have to take a deep breath and when you see that people are dying from this, you have to make sure you do everything right so that it doesn't spread.

Q How are you passing the time?

A: My youngest son, Theo, has just turned two, so we have a two-year-old and a four-month-old. It's kind of just building structure into the day, so we try and do some art, have some play time outside, grab lunch, do some reading, watch a bit of TV, have a bit of a schedule. It's kept me sane to tell you the truth! It gives you something to come back to every day, and then you find yourself coming back to things you would never normally do, especially with our two-year-old. I had never done any baking or cooking, so it's maybe challenging yourself to do things you've never done before. Before, we would have gone to the park or something like that, but now we don't have that option available to us.

Q How are you keeping morale up and where are you drawing strength from?

A: Probably my faith. When you have faith and that God has a time for everything, in this situation that's maybe a bit bizarre, but we hang onto our faith a lot in our family, big time. I go to Carrick Elim because my brother-in-law, John, is the pastor and my other brother-in-law, Mark, is the worship leader, so we go there. You're also only a phone call or FaceTime away from most people which is reassuring. My parents are self-isolating and John has cancer, so he and my sister Lisa are self-isolating too. That's a massive issue right now because he has pancreatic cancer. Any kind of cold or even a change in the weather, his body isn't able to fight it, so they've been isolating for two weeks, pretty much as soon as it came about. He's a massive, massive Liverpool fan and so this is probably annoying him that they might not win the league! We're trying to keep things light-hearted with that, a bit of banter about the football and that he has to stick around for another year just in case. You have to keep a sense of humour and have things to look forward to. That's how we're dealing with it because it's not even as if you're popping round the corner to see your family - you can't. But I still text my friends and I'm still part of the WhatsApp groups in work, so we're keeping each other going with some light-hearted banter.

Q Sports fans are staying at home too - are there any films, books or box sets you would recommend?

A: I actually recently watched the show that just came out on Netflix, The English Game. It's very good, I would definitely recommend anyone to watch it.

Q What life lessons are you learning from this?

A: We're definitely learning patience, especially if you've been to the shops recently, that would definitely help you out. Just understanding that there's different ways to do things. The biggest one I've really learned is everyone has an opinion, and that's okay. Some people are way left-field in their thoughts and how they do things and that's what suits them, and some people don't take it so seriously and that's what suits them. I'm learning that a bit more because this situation is so grey, there's no black or white. All we can do is take the government's advice.

Q When this is all over, what's the first thing you're going to do?

A: Food-wise I'm definitely going to get some sushi, I've been missing that the most. I'm also looking forward to going on holiday, we were meant to be going to Spain. That might be way further down the line though. I actually had a wedding to go to in Malta in May and a friend's hen as well. It's just the simple things you miss though, isn't it? Going for a walk, taking the kids to the park, going to the beach. Things like that.

Q Do you have a message for NI sports fans?

A: Hang in there, it's going to end - a bit like my pregnancy when things got tough, it's going to have an end! We will get through this, and I think as a nation and humanity we're going to be better people because of this if we take life lessons from it. When we get to the end of 2020, I think we'll be able to say we're better people because of this.

Belfast Telegraph