As part of the Captains’ Letters series on Sky Sports, Cliftonville Ladies midfielder and Northern Ireland skipper Marissa Callaghan has penned an open missive to sports fans around the world, offering comfort to everyone facing the challenges presented by the battle against Covid-19.
The project invites the national captains of men’s and women’s sports teams to express their own personal experiences and hopes for the future during the global crisis, with Reds star Callaghan the latest high-profile name to take part.
Open letter from Marissa Callaghan
This is crazy. It feels like we are in a movie at times. Is this real life?
It’s heartbreaking to hear so many people are losing their battle with Covid-19. My thoughts and prayers are with their families. I truly hope we can save lives by doing our bit and staying at home.
To all sports fans… I know how you are all feeling right now. These are strange times.
Personally, I miss the training ground, the team atmosphere, the competition, the laughs, the coaches, the drills, the water breaks and, most of all, being around friends.
But we are in a global crisis. Our health and the health of others is what is important right now.
Whether you are a player or a fan, just look forward. We need to work together to ensure our loved ones are kept safe. We do this by following the guidelines given to us.
This pandemic isn’t going to last forever. When this is all over, we will have our beloved game back like never before.
I grew up in West Belfast and the stories I am hearing from there about acts of kindness are amazing.
St James’ Swifts’ Football Club reached out to hundreds of people across Belfast using social media channels and have been delivering packages of food and essentials to those in need.
Divis Youth Project along with Immaculata FC, Heart Project and Grosvenor CC got together and made up packs for the most vulnerable in the community.
In Whiterock, they posted cards through all the doors. The residents were asked to display a red card if they needed help and a green card if they were OK. I thought this was a great way to communicate.
Ben Madigan’s, a restaurant in North Belfast, raised money through social media and online donations so it could make up fresh meals for nominated vulnerable people within the community.
And I’ve also heard about similar acts of kindness right across the city, in fact right across Northern Ireland.
My message to my Northern Ireland team-mates, and all those involved with our squad, is to stay safe. And the same goes for everyone at my Club, Cliftonville Ladies.
To all the workers on the frontline, I just want to say that I admire you. You are all true heroes in this war. Thank you for helping the world to get through this.
As a nation we must listen to the advice and stay at home if we can.
Now is the time to take a deep breath, hit the reset button and be thankful for everything you have in life.
Captain, Northern Ireland Women