ANY GIVEN MONDAY
Down at the end of my street there's a small park used mainly as a Saturday morning soccer ground for primary school kids.
Walk past it at any other given hour and you might see a dog walker or two with those ridiculous sticks for throwing balls – what the hell is wrong with arms these days? – and a couple of wannabe b-ballers clanging bricks against the metal backboard of a lonely hoop.
The weekend just gone was different. There were so many kids putting up shots from all angles that it looked like a pinball machine stuck on a multi-ball setting. There were dads setting up cones on the field for football drills; there were jumpers for goalposts.
Dogs, which for years have had the run of the place, just looked confused.
It was yesterday; it feels like a different time.
I'm not sure whether people knew the lockdown was imminent. I suspect they just wanted to make the most of the sun while it still had some warmth in it and keep their kids active.
The big questions remain: When will life go back to normal and when it does so, will it be a new normal?
Put alongside this fundament, the future of sport seems wholly inconsequential, but watching that scene play out has given me food for thought. So did a phone call I received from a mate from a big boys school down country, which snapped me out of my Sunday reverie.
He was pretty pissed off. Here we were as a country, he said, sending kids to school to keep life as normal as possible, yet we weren't letting them do what was the most normal thing in their lives – to practice and play sport.
The boys, he said, couldn't give a rat's arse about missing school, but they were struggling with the lack of organised sport in their lives.
The school had stopped team practices to be good citizens, but had kept their gyms open so the boys could at least have access to unorganised play while staying within Ministry of Health guidelines.
With the news that schools will shutter from Wednesday, even that option has gone.
It will have a flow-on effect. Many kids most enjoyable engagement with their school is through extra-curricular activity. That goodwill follows them into the classroom. Take the biggest fun away, the other stuff feels even more like drudgery.
They are small, possibly meaningless anecdotes, but it has made me think more about the role sport and activity plays in our lives.
I have to confess I haven't missed sport in the way I thought I would. I might have once struggled without a plethora of live sport on the box, but it hasn't been the wrench it might have been. There's less to write about, but my psyche will handle this temporary separation from professional sport just fine.
What I miss already are the Saturday afternoons on the boundary of some dreadful suburban or school ground watching 22 boys trying to be the next Kane Williamson or Trent Boult. Or Wednesday nights beside the netball courts where literally hundreds of small girls are trying to make themselves noticed among the din of whistles and constant cacophony of "contact yellow, pass or shot".
I already miss the confusion of reminding myself which kid has to be where at what time wearing what for which practice, then promptly forgetting safe in the knowledge my wife will have it covered.
I'll miss my son's one-word responses when I ask him how training went, and my daughter's more considered answers that invariably start with, "Well, you know how…"
They are little conversational routines that I didn't even know were routine until they suddenly weren't there.
These, I now realise, are the sports stories I most miss.
The IOC have finally caved and... acknowledged the possibility that Tokyo 2020 will be postponed.
This revelation has not advanced story beyond the bleeding obvious except for the fact that the groundwork is clearly being laid for a later announcement.
What staggers me is that it is always the athletes that act as the conscience of the various Olympic Committees, not the other way around. There are plush offices around the world with trite Olympism slogans plastered on the walls, yet it took a Greek pole vaulter to cut to the chase about the prospect of the Games going ahead in July.
"This is not about how things will be in four months – this is about how things are now," said Katerina Stefanidi, the Olympic pole vault champion.
"The IOC wants us to keep risking our health, our family's health and public health to train every day? You are putting us in danger right now, today, not in four months. It's unbelievable. What about team sports that have to train together? What about swimming? What about gymnastics that… touch the same objects? There is zero consideration of the risk they are putting us in right now."
Over to you Thomas Bach.
The backlash that would come from starting a competition only for a player/s to test positive surely outweighs the potential rewards?
We all want sport to return as soon as possible, but only if it makes sense, not dollars and cents.
THE MONDAY LONG READ
Here's a story about football in another age of great disruption.