Five questions: What was the best thing about the sporting year of 2020? What about the year gives us courage? Finally: Why will 2021 definitely be better?

Lockdown. Training ban. Hygiene concepts everywhere. No spectators in the venues. Canceled championships. Broken dreams. Season resumptions. Season reductions. The COVID-19-year 2020 has also confronted sport – at the competitive level as well as leisure sport for everyone – with unprecedented challenges.

We wanted to know from our athletes how their experience this year has been. What bothered them. What gives them hope on the threshold to the new year. And whether 2020 didn’t hold anything good after all.

The questions:
1. What was / is the best thing about 2020?
2. What I learned this year…
3. Something that annoyed me,,,
4. This gives me courage…
5. 2021 will definitely be a better year because …

Katharina Lackinger (national player from Austria, Chairwoman IFA Athletes´ Commission)

Photo: Valentin Weber

1) That despite the crisis, new opportunities and chances have always arisen, especially professionally. Also, that we had a – at least in parts – normal sporting and social life in the summer and that I was still able to experience beautiful, if somewhat extraordinary moments with my girls this year.

2) How important my friends and family are for me and that we always stick together even in difficult times. A big point in this year was definitely to be flexible and positive, which I have learned in any case.

3) That I had to put all my plans on hold this year. Some pretty cool events that were on the schedule, World Championship in Chile, World Tour Finals in Birmingham and a trip to New Zealand. Also, our bad internet connection cost me some nerves in one or the other meeting 😉

4) That I have an environment I can totally rely on. And I think everyone is trying hard to get back into our “normal” everyday life – I’m looking positively ahead!

5) … probably/hopefully nothing will upset us so quickly after 2020.

Patrick Thomas (national player from Germany, 3x World Champion, 2x winner of the World Games)

Photo: Petra Den Dulk

1) That life slowed down a bit again and the weekends were not all pre-planned. 2019 in particular was very demanding physically and mentally due to the World Championships in Winterthur and many other international and national championships, training camps, tournaments, etc. It was good to slow down a bit and use the weekends for other things.

2) That health is more important than anything else. Of course, I was already aware of this before, but sometimes drastic experiences make you especially aware of it. Especially in the case of negative experiences, one should make clear to oneself that there are much worse things on our planet.

3) Conspiracy theorists, contrarians and mask deniers. I just can’t understand how anyone can deny or underestimate a global pandemic. The fact that this selfish behavior is carried out on the backs of the weakest members of our society makes me really angry.

4) That even in times of crisis, there can be further developments and positive as well as sustainable changes.
For example, digitalization has advanced considerably through the discovery of home office solutions or the increased use of video conferencing meetings.
Personally, I was able to use the time for further studies on a part-time level, which I hope to complete next June.

5) There is hope again for an end to the crisis due to the vaccine that has been developed. We will still have to deal with restrictions for a few months, but we will be grateful for smaller things in life, which we will get back step by step. Of course, I also hope that we will soon be able to play Fistball again and I look forward to seeing many familiar faces on and off the court again.

Helena Schuh (U18 national player Austria)

Photo: Markus Schinke

1) The best thing about this extraordinary year was that I found enough time for things that otherwise would not have been possible. I was able to take up old hobbies again. In addition, we were able to play a shortened, but still exciting championship in the summer.

2) I learned to value social gatherings more and I realized how important friendship and family are for me. I also practiced self-discipline through the challenge of homeschooling and missing Fistball practices, which I replaced with strength and endurance workouts.

3) Of course, the cancellation or postponement of the U18 world championships was very bitter. But what I missed the most were the trainings with my team.

4) On the one hand, the vaccination, which will hopefully soon limit the spread of the virus and thus eliminate the restrictive measures. On the other hand, the thought that I still have many Fistball years ahead of me, however they will turn out.

5) I think it is getting better because we have learned to deal with the virus. In the Fistball family, we are really looking forward to a comeback on the field of play. In addition, I could use the year well to build up a good physical base for 2021.

Eric Kindler (national player USA, Deputy chair IFA Athletes´ Commission)

Photo: Valentin Weber

1) Among the many unfortunate happenings of 2020, I was able to continue to work and hold a better appreciation for the industry I chose to work in. Also, all of my family members were able to keep or modify their jobs and thus did not have to struggle financially during this time.

2) I learned very quickly that many people have differing opinions on how to handle a pandemic situation and that the politics within how it is handled is very challenging for both sides.

3) As someone that is not very politically savvy or involved, I was frustrated that I wasn’t able to do things on my own free will such as Fistball.

4) I look forward to the return to some sort of normal and the development of the vaccines definitely makes this a more achievable goal for society.

5) … there will be Fistball!

Nick Trinemeier (national player for Germany, 2x World Champion, winner of the World Games 2017)

Photo: Moritz Kaufmann

1) That I value meetings with family and friends more, even if they are less frequent.

2) That I enjoy playing fistball even without an upcoming competition and would love to play it every day.

3) That many championships and tournaments have been cancelled and that we can’t embrace each other.

4) That we can overcome challenges together and will do so again.

5) That more normality will return to our lives and we may even appreciate this more for some time.