Former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has encouraged Kiwis to keep connected during the coronavirus pandemic, speaking about the outbreak as a father, husband to an Olympic hopeful and a small business owner.
McCaw appeared on Sky's The Breakdown programme last night to discuss the impact of Covid-19 on sport and New Zealand in general, with the virus seeing most sport globally cancelled and countries going into lockdown.
"Focusing on the things that are important and what you can have an influence over – whether it was playing rugby or in the context of life - that gives you something to focus on," McCaw said.
"It may be still tough to figure out how you're going to navigate through it."
The 148-Test All Black is being challenged by the coronavirus outbreak in multiple aspects of his life currently, with his small Christchurch-based helicopter company affected. He also has his young daughter, Charlotte, to be protective of.
"You think of businesses, and I'm involved in a business which has challenges ahead," he said. "It's about trying to work out what you can control.
"People can't go to work and businesses have lost revenue…Some of that is out of your control, but you can control your attitude around looking after your people and your family."
McCaw said it was important, especially with the nationwide four-week lockdown imminent, to keep communicating with those around you in these tough times.
"You don't want to do it on your own. Everyone – your neighbours, people all around the world – is in the same boat so connecting with them can be helpful.
"I know sometimes leadership can be lonely but it doesn't have to be if you share it with people that are going through the same thing."
McCaw is also supporting his wife, Gemma, through the pandemic with the Black Sticks veteran now in limbo after the IOC confirmed overnight the Tokyo Olympics have been postponed until next year.
"It's pretty tough on the girls. They're right in the middle of their training and they're training pretty damn hard," McCaw said last night, prior to the announcement.
"The way it's looking now, it's potentially not going to happen and there are a lot of things in the air – whether it's in 12 months' time and you're still going to be involved… it's a tough one to keep training like the Olympics could still be there when in the back of your mind knowing it may not be, it may be in 18 months.
"It does put it in perspective, though – being fit and healthy and around your family is the most important thing. And you can put aside those disappointments when you have that because many people don't."
One positive McCaw sees coming from the pandemic is the potential rise in popularity of sport when it returns, with most professional leagues around the world now suspended for the safety of fans and athletes.
"Every sport is in the same situation – you're wondering what it's going to look like once things turn around and what sort of damage is being done through obviously missing competitions. In some ways, rather than looking at what the problems might be now, [look at] what opportunities might open up and there might be some good things come out of it if you can deal with the financial hit.
"You hear sometimes that, 'Oh, people get sick of seeing rugby or sport in general', but it's amazing when you haven't got anything to watch how important it is to everyone's lives from an entertainment point of view. I think from a rugby point of view in New Zealand, it's shown how important it is to New Zealand.
"Once that opportunity to get back out there in whatever form it looks like, I think people will get excited to be back playing or back watching and in the long run that might be a positive for our game, remembering how important it is."