The Corona Crisis: How a virus affects not only table tennis

Table tennis_Corona

A piece of toilet paper? A remote? A table tennis paddle? What really counts in this exceptional situation?...

In today’s newsletter I address you with a mail which should go beyond direct table tennis topics and which I consider important.

On this occasion I will show my personal view of some urgent topics. I refer to the situation in general as well as to the table tennis specific situation. In my opinion it would be completely inappropriate in the current situation to write a post today purely about table tennis technique or about tactical topics with pimples. We are all in an unprecedented exceptional situation and have to go through extreme changes. I myself have been taking the issue of the corona virus extremely seriously for some time now and can only encourage you to do the same.

I have already made my private stock purchases in February. With one exception at the beginning of the month, I have not yet met anybody during the month of March and will not do so in the near future. I have consistently cancelled training agreements or other projects such as table tennis video shootings.

The feeling is strange, but I myself am surprised how quickly I got used to the new circumstances and consider them “normal”. I have spent a large part of my time trying to make my environment aware of the fact that I should do the same. In addition, at locations in my region, I took very clear action by telephone against events such as 999-person parties, for example, when there were still recommendations to avoid events as far as possible and to refrain from events with 1000 or more people.

A few weeks ago, almost everyone laughed at me or looked at me slantwise. Even today this is unfortunately still the case with some people. The behaviour of some people shocks me and I have never been so disappointed in my life as in these times. When human lives are potentially at stake, observing rules of conduct is not a matter of opinion, but a self-evident duty. I too can only rely on statements and information from international politicians and recognised experts. Their views are gloomy if measures are not observed.

At present, it seems that nobody really knows how serious the virus will really be. I also hope that, due to an extremely high number of unreported cases of infection, it will be less serious than suspected. Nevertheless, none of us can claim to be able to judge or even know. What I am referring to: personal acquaintances from the table tennis network in China and also from Italy have told me vehemently that we should take the subject extremely seriously! China was only able to stem the strong proliferation with the toughest measures, which we in Germany can hardly imagine.

Reasons why it has not been taken seriously by many people or is not yet taken seriously:

For a long time the media compared the virus to the flu. However, it is a different disease. If it were called “Chinese lung disease” instead of “corona virus”, hardly anyone would dare to leave the house. In order to ensure orderly structures, politicians are forced to find words with the right balance: These have to be chosen so weakly that the employees in the supermarket (who do an outstanding and eminently important job at this time) still go to work and at the same time so strong that they do not invite any acquaintances in the evening.
The media gave the impression, like a prayer wheel, that there are only certain “risk groups”. A large part of the younger people apparently have the feeling that the topic would not affect them. Selfish people do not think in this situation that they could endanger others. However, things can get worse: If the health system is currently not unlikely to be overtaxed, they could take away other patients’ hospital places. Independently of this, however, the media also report that some younger people will need intensive medical support. A friend of mine is in his late twenties and infected. He is really not very well. Likewise, no official body has yet communicated that it is still completely unclear whether an infection can also lead to consequential damage.

The situation in table tennis:
The season has been cancelled and I personally do not expect that it will be played to the end. Now that you are not allowed to play anymore, the more the desire to play table tennis grows. Sometime the day will come when we will experience a normalisation again. But before we can continue to play, we as a community have to answer a lot of questions arbitrarily and without rules in the shortest possible time. These include:

What will the composition of the leagues be next season? Is the current standings evaluated? Is the first round table evaluated? Will the season be cancelled and played again in the same team constellation? These and many other questions cannot be answered in a way that everyone will be satisfied. It doesn’t matter what the decision of the DTTB will be; many will have to be treated “unfairly” to ensure the common good of our sport. The decision can and will influence us in any way positively or negatively. We should be aware of this in advance.

The following is personally important to me here:

The decision-makers will have to find a universally valid rule, which many will definitely regard as unfair. However, please accept it without reservation, so that afterwards a normal course of events can be guaranteed again.

If boycott threats or legal disputes will follow, we will not find a clean procedure for years and destroy our sport itself. We can save ourselves from this by thinking of the table tennis sport as a whole and not of ourselves personally. In professional sport and especially in football, where billions of euros, many jobs and livelihoods are at stake, these questions are even more far-reaching.

We should always keep this in mind.

How should the current Corona situation end?
The aim of the first measures, such as the curfew in Bavaria, is now to flatten the infection curve so that the health system is not overburdened and the sick can continue to receive the best possible treatment. This is incredibly important and should be a top priority. But if you think further ahead, the crisis is not yet over, it is only conserved. I assume that we will have to prepare ourselves for a longer marathon. My thoughts on this:

A controlled, slow contagion that allows for sufficient care of the sick would take years and would therefore probably not be an option that would be accepted by the population and politicians. My concern is that acceptance of the measures by the population would decline after a certain time.
As soon as a state would almost completely prevent new infections, which is an ambitious goal, then, if the situation were to normalise and the measures were withdrawn, the number of new infections would rise again. In case of doubt, new infections could also come from abroad again.
The approval of a tested vaccine will take an indefinite time. Even if the vaccine appears, it will not be possible to vaccinate the entire population within one day.
It may also be possible to find a good treatment option that will allow us to return to normality quite quickly. As is well known, hope dies last; also with us table tennis players.
About the economic situation:
Just like the DTTB on table tennis, politics and society will have to find quick and drastic solutions. Should the current situation last for a longer time, the word “crisis” would be massively understated. Several companies and whole industries (aviation, automotive industry, hospitality industry, retail and many, many more…) are more or less banned from working, which also triggers a domino effect.

Without massive political intervention, it would lead to mass insolvencies at various levels, including banks. Therefore, aid measures with an unbelievable amount of “fresh” money on an unprecedented scale will have to be taken.

Even after the crisis, many businesses will no longer be able to operate to the same extent from day one as before.

The world will not be the same after the crisis on many levels:

At the moment the borders are closed. We do not know whether the EU will still function with the same regulations as before. For states such as Hungary, for example, there will probably never be a more appropriate time to change their commitment to the EU with a suitable justification.
We do not know when untroubled, visa-free travel without quarantine measures will be possible again.

We also don’t know if for financial reasons the favourite café, the Italian around the corner, the clothes shop or the table tennis shop will still be there. This depends very much on the nature of the political intervention.
About the situation at Sauer & Tröger:
In April, a big launch of great new products was imminent. But now we do not know how many materials will be bought by us this year and if our training courses can take place. Therefore we are all the more pleased if you remain loyal to us as customers: Together strong in good times and even stronger in bad times. What we can guarantee, however, is that we are well positioned and that you can count on us during the crisis and afterwards.

For the time being, we therefore ship free of charge in our online shop and at the same time offer a discount of up to 20%. This is our contribution for you as customers in this exceptional situation. You can place your order from the comfort of your own home. #We stay at home

It will also have positive side effects:

The world will be better prepared for new and possibly even worse pandemics in the future.
The digitalisation of offices and schools will make progress that would not have been possible otherwise.
The home office and remote working will take on a new meaning. The same applies to education. We will be able to do and consume work and knowledge at any time and in any place, virtually.
And perhaps the most important point:

We will perhaps move a little closer together again. Bonds with family and friends will become stronger again. We will think more regionally instead of internationally. Deceleration is becoming more important than acceleration. The focus will not be on having, but on being.
A personal example:

My favorite café has mutated into a kiosk where I could even buy toilet paper. A restaurant that I go to occasionally is now an office space that gives employees more distance from other companies than would be possible in their actual office. Necessity is the mother of invention. And perhaps the emergencies will ensure that existing, deadlocked structures are changed and improved, so that we reach a new evolutionary stage precisely by meeting this challenge.

Hence my advice to you:
There are two basic ways to deal with the crisis. You can lament many circumstances and want to sit it out or you can try to make the best out of the situation.

I personally had an incredible amount of plans and a clear path ahead of me. At first, it tore my feet off the ground and my entire planning fell through.

But now the time of the first shock and fears is over. I know the situation and I think about how I can change my position and how I can use it actively and positively. I don’t have to sit around at home all day bored (depending on my life situation), but can use the day productively. I read a lot and I educate myself further. I take advantage of the opportunity to watch informative YouTube videos, book online courses (the nubbly Bible DVD is very useful from us), and in general to learn something I have wanted to learn for a long time. I can keep fit and do a sports program at home. You can come up with much more if you develop a positive attitude. But you can also use the time to spend more time with your family.

You can also ask yourself how you can support other people who are having a particularly difficult time at the moment. I myself am a landlord of furnished flats, which have been rented by companies for their employees. All of them suddenly moved away and I have now made these available free of charge to hospitals for doctors and nurses with long journeys to the hospital in these difficult times. An acquaintance, who is a seamstress, has not given up and now produces masks instead of clothes. Others volunteer to support test centres of laboratories or help their elderly neighbours with their shopping. There are countless opportunities to make a positive contribution in this difficult phase for all of us.

Finally, we would like to appeal to all of you to take the situation seriously and take responsibility for you and your fellow human beings and stay at home, just like we do.

Therefore from the bottom of our hearts: Come through this time healthy and also try to use the time of restrictions positively. So that we can meet again as soon as possible and deal with other topics.

Greetings from the bottom of my heart

Sebastian and the whole Sauer & Tröger team

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Greetings from the Sauer & Tröger Team

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