By Morgan Bolton
JOHANNESBURG - The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect, and there can be no doubt that there will be a paradigm shift in the way we interact with each other in the years to come.
Thus far, the virus has claimed 2.43 million lives, while the socio-economic impact will certainly be tallied after the pandemic is brought under control.
It is strange then that there are still individuals who can comfortably brush off the suffering of their fellows, as we have all collectively endured the distress of the coronavirus in one shape or another.
That seemed the case this week when former Test captain Quinton de Kock received a barrage of misdirected abuse from sectors of the populace for his decision not to participate in the CSA T20 Challenge, which started on Friday morning.
Those triggered bemoaned his commitment, and the fact that he has only played a handful of matches since December.
How could he, they argued, require a break from cricket, and not be fit enough to play in the upcoming tournament?
As it transpired, and only through the diffusion of information that should have remained private, Quinny, like the majority, is feeling the mental and emotional strain of these unprecedented times.
Well, they argued, CSA should have been more transparent with the decision ...
Only, they didn't need to justify his non-participation, especially because it touches such a personal aspect of his health.
In hindsight, De Kock looked out of sorts in the recent tour of Pakistan, and seemed to lack the flair and determination that has become a staple of his play.
The #T20Challenge is back on the 19th of February and better than ever, with your favourite #Proteas battling it out for their franchises! 🔥— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) February 15, 2021
📺 Catch the action live on SuperSport and in the official match day centre.#SeeUsOnThePitch pic.twitter.com/uyfytXUPYc
If the 28-year-old therefore requires a break from cricket and the public eye, to rejuvenate his mind, then firstly, let the man be; secondly, let us rather support him; and finally, respect his privacy, while lending a helping hand.
That applies to all of our sporting heroes, and it applies to every individual that is battling with their mental health – now and in the future.
None of us are immune to the anxieties associated with our present reality, and all of us should act with a bit more sympathy towards our friends, family, and even those strangers that pass us in our daily routines, including our heroes.
Luckily, with the current rollout of vaccines, there is a speckle of hope growing that we can all return to a degree of normality.
Until then, let us take extra care with members of our society that are battling more so with the ongoing situation – and again after all this has passed – and help them with a kind word, concern and when so required, action.
* If you are battling with your mental health, or know of someone who is, here are a handful of contact details that could be of aid:
Lifeline South Africa: 0861 322 322
SADAG suicide prevention Line: 0800 567 567
South Africa Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0800 212 223/0800 121 314
ChildLine: 0800 055 555