Social distance: from zero to 1,5 meters

by Maxime Booi

By Maxime Booi
On 26 October 2020

Colour piece – How a virus has created a new social reality.Chairman Phillipe Tankink explains the difficulties of following the new Corona rules at his hockey club.

It is a beautiful, sunny and cloudless Sunday. Players, opponents, supporters, friends and family come together for a day full of sports, fun, food and drinks. It’s Super Sunday. With people walking in a one-way route, a man who uses the hand sanitizer on the table and barricade tape on the benches where people are watching a game, it’s clear that the Corona virus has affected this sports club as well.

Phillip Tankink, chairman of the field hockey club HCP, is wearing a bright orange bib, black and red sweatpants and untied, blue hockey shoes. A man with bright blonde, spiky hair and small round glasses. He stands in front of the window pointing his phone at one of the big QR-codes on the window. In his left hand he holds a Heineken beer.

Since the Coronavirus hit our country last February, the whole world has turned upside down and brought changes into our daily lives. Not only businesses had to close, but also the sports clubs had to close their doors. Luckily, the sports clubs as well as the businesses have been allowed to reopen under certain and strict measurements. Due to these measurements there have been a lot of changes including the fact that everyone has to register themselves, also Phillip himself.

He explains that it is really difficult for the visitors of the sports club to stick to the rules to combat the Corona virus. The board of the club has done a lot to create a safe environment. ‘There’s a thin line between what is allowed versus what is against the rules, not all people seem to take these rules serious,’ Says Phillip. ‘Especially along the young crowd in combination with a hockey game and alcohol. A bit of extra eyes on the behavior of the supporters can help the club in avoiding a €1000 fine on ignoring the Corona rules.’

A ladies team walks off the pitch, spark in their eyes and a smile on their faces. They gathered around close to each other at the terrace. Time to award the best player of the game and celebrate their victory. As they stand side by side, Phillip comes closer. ‘Girls, congratulations on the win, but you are the representation for the club, so please take some distance from each other.’ he says to the team a bit nervous.

As he is walking away, looking aimlessly around, an older man with a brown jacket, almost just as brown as his sun-kissed skin, grey hair and a cigarette in his mouth slowly comes up to him. He starts chattering: ‘So, supervisor, you look elegant. Looking for any misbehaviors? I hope the authority will not come and check this time, because otherwise we are screwed. Look at all the young people sitting next to each other, last time when I was here, they were yelling and jumping on the tables,’ Phillip, who was rubbing his hands together, mumbled. ‘At least I am very happy to see you, Ad and the other guy are taking this seriously and point out the people when needed.’ adds the sun-kissed smoker smiling.

‘Did you already register yourself this morning? And do you think she is going to play for another club next year?’ Two girlfriends, both wearing the same teamwear, stand beside each other in the cafeteria with a Somersby beer in their hands, waiting on their order to arrive. ‘Oh, shoot. I totally forgot about that. l might do it later,’ says the girl with red painted hair who hangs against the counter. ‘I was at the club of Rotterdam the other day and there was a woman at the entrance who made sure everyone registered, much easier if you ask me. I still think it’s weird that we now have to be 1,5 meters apart from each other, while during the game, we don’t have to take distance at all,’ she adds while taking another zip of her beer. ‘And yeah, I think she will go to another club by the way, she is a really good defender.’

A couple of moments, conversations and remarks later, Phillip comes out the door entrance with a sandwich frikandel, a typical Dutch snack. He is coughing in his fist, looks around if anyone sees him and is coughing again. This time in his elbow. One of the supporters at the fence is calling him, ‘come and watch the game with us and take another beer.’ Phillip smiles and walks towards the guy at the fence: ‘Sure, but let’s make sure we keep our distance.’