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Adam Keefe: Every day could be your last, so enjoy what you have

 

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Belfast Giants head coach Adam Keefe

Belfast Giants head coach Adam Keefe

William Cherry/Presseye

Belfast Giants head coach Adam Keefe

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 Adam Keefe, who has been head coach of the Belfast Giants since 2017.

Q: How are you keeping?

A: I'm keeping well. We're still trying to recruit our team and put together a list of names that are intrigued about Belfast and want to come over here, just familiarising ourselves with what's out there and keeping in touch with players in general.

The NHL Coaches' Association has also been putting on webinars and I've been watching a few of those to get some new ideas for next season and improve the team - just some personal growth from myself. Hockey isn't the only thing I do all day though! I've got two dogs, two Yorkshire terriers, and they want the ball thrown at them all day, so that keeps them active in the garden at least.

I've also started a vegetable patch, so that's something to look forward to in August when they come to harvest. I've been wanting to do it for a while, I just never had the time. I guess that's the thing about lockdown for a lot of people, doing things you've been putting off. Besides the hockey work I've just been trying to do things around the house and enjoy a bit of relaxation. While the world is on pause and everyone is slowing down, we should be doing the same mentally.

Q: How have you been affected?

A: It brought our season to a close in March. As a group, we were excited about those last six games, four of which were going to be at home. That last push for the league title, anything can happen if you get on a run and get some help from around the league, and it can always come down to the last game of the season. That was taken away from us as a team and that was disappointing not to know how it would have played out.

Q: How are you keeping fit?

A: I've started to train a little bit, nowhere near as much as I should though! One of the silver linings is people turning their focus to getting fit and getting healthier, which is a good thing that's going to come out of this.

Q: How are you maintaining morale?

A: I'm staying focused, staying busy by looking at how I can improve next year's team and improve myself as a coach. There were a lot of things that went wrong this season that I need to improve on next season, thereby improving the team in that sense. I'm also picking my brother's (Sheldon, head coach of NHL team the Toronto Maple Leafs) brain on what I can learn from him as well. He has a wealth of experience in the game.

Q: Where are you drawing personal strength from?

A: I think the realisation that we're now prepared and understand these things can happen, so hopefully we're better prepared in the future. Ultimately we're all aware of the seriousness of the situation and everyone is doing their part to help the NHS and slow the spread so we can get out of this as quickly as possible, and it's been great to see everyone involved with the Clap for Carers.

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

A: I've been watching that Netflix documentary on Michael Jordan, The Last Dance. It is intriguing to see how one of the best players of his time had success, what his story was and how those teams did what they did. There are two episodes a week, so I'm only halfway through it at the moment.

Q: What life lessons are you learning from this?

A: The main life lesson is that we take things for granted and assume we're invincible and can live every day like we want. What this situation has taught us, especially me, is that every day could be your last, so enjoy what you have and put things in perspective.

Especially in our job, the things that stress us on a daily basis are a lot lesser than what we're going through right now. Understand there are bigger things at play, so stay healthy and enjoy yourself because as we've seen here, you never know what's coming your way. I think this has been a big eye-opener for everybody, I don't think anybody thought this could happen.

Q: When this is all over, what's the first thing you will do?

A: When we're able to get out, I don't think a vacation is on the cards with the current situation! Travelling is going to be a nightmare, so myself and my wife Colleen will probably get away somewhere within Ireland with the dogs and get away from home. We'll probably try and get on the lakes or something like that - something we've done in the past is rent a boat on the lough and go out for a couple of days on the water. Usually it's pretty peaceful and enjoyable. It's funny, most people will probably want to be back in the hustle and bustle of the city once this is all over but we'd be getting away from people again!

Q: And your message to sports fans?

A: Obviously there's a certain element of pride and excitement about that first game back in front of the Giants fans, how special that moment is going to be to share. As a league and an organisation, one thing we've always done is rally around each other through tough times and this is no different. Once we're able to get back to the SSE, that's going to be a very special moment and it's one of the things I've been keeping my eye on. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone back at the arena.

Belfast Telegraph