Tilburg 2021, curfew versus stopwatch? In perspective or clockwise? Covid-19 is still an issue. Is it a confrontational period? In any case, a period with striking contrasts. High-middle-low. We look further. Is it because of the spirit of the times that contrasts become clearly visible? Are we all collectively being presented with a mirror? Are we walking forward counterclockwise or backward clockwise? One thing is certain: no matter what, time flies.
Which brings me to this month's theme, which is sports. In this series we go to an athletics track, visit the soccer academy of Willem II and finish with American football.
Social bonding is the core I think. That's why I also sought out the connection with people from the crucial professional sectors. During the first and second wave and still today, they work incredibly hard and keep things running. What many take for granted, but actually shouldn't be taken for granted. Such discipline, dedication and positivity. This applies to the entire vital sector. They just make it happen!
A race against the clock
With Janske I went to athletics club Attila, where we were warmly welcomed. We were both surprised at the changes in the area around the athletics track, should you still be looking for a new home. It's a wonderful contrast, though. The strikingly beautiful, blue athletic track surrounded by new construction in a classic style. There are only a few of these special blue tracks in the Netherlands. One of them is located in Tilburg.
Janske works for PostNL and finds it a very nice job. I'm always on the road and I like the freedom. You get to go everywhere. She also experiences many funny and special moments during her work, which ultimately inspires her. 'At PostNL we go through all kinds of things,' Janske explains. 'From Black Friday to a lockdown. There's more and more online shopping, especially now.' She does notice that. The social contacts she makes during her work were always nice, but now with corona Janske notices that people are more understanding when it takes a little longer. 'People are very happy when you deliver a package. Besides, most people are at home now!' she says, laughing with a wink.
But she does so much more. Janske writes beautiful stories that are illustrated with lovely drawings by her daughter. She probably doesn't want me to mention it, but I do anyway. Who knows what will come out of it.
I had arranged with care workers Nicole and Inge to meet at the soccer academy of Willem II, where we were received with enormous hospitality. Trainer/coach Robby Hendriks gave us all the space we needed. 'If you need players, just take them off the pitch.' There you are with two charming, confident ladies, on a large soccer complex. As you can imagine, that gets a lot of attention.
The pandemic is asking a lot of everyone who works in healthcare. Not only in hospitals, but also in elder care and home care. Nicole and Inge work as district nurses in Tilburg West and Tilburg North. Nicole found the beginning of the first wave particularly hectic and intensive. 'Together with direct colleagues we set up the first Covid district team in March 2020. We then took care of all clients suspected or infected with the virus in the Tilburg region. It was an intense time. Despite that, we enjoyed doing it. As a team we wanted to be on the front line. You want to help people and we are extremely happy that we were able to make it happen.'
At the soccer academy, they strive for the youth players to grow, as footballers but also as people. Everyone should be given that opportunity. Their vision is "adaptability and teamwork". I find this an accurate connection to Nicole and Inge.
Putting our shoulders to the wheel
When I started to explore the options around the topic of sports, I was extremely surprised by the amount of possibilities in the field of sports in Tilburg. I also discovered that Tilburg has an American football club: the "Tilburg Wolves". This sport is all about land-grab in a professional way, where tactics and combat are part of the game. Ultimately, you play as a team. The game always offers perspective, because every action can be decisive.
The club responded with immediate enthusiasm when I approached them. My plan was to put a supermarket employee at the center of the photo. This didn't work out in the end, because it is difficult to find someone who can pose in company clothing. Still, we got the job done. Demi is treasurer with the "Tilburg wolves" and also happens to work in a bakery. Whether people have stocked up on bread during the pandemic, I dare not say, but that there was a run on supermarkets, we cannot deny.
Athletics club Attila
Willem II soccer academy (youth players)
Robby Hendriks: Coordinator soccer academy, trainer/coach
Suzanne Albregts: Willem II foundation
Kaat van der Weide: Spokeswoman Thebe
Angelique Cornelissen: photo's & writing