Dusting the cobwebs off our favourite football club’s replica kit, donning the team’s colours and the buzz of arriving at the stadium a couple of hours before live sporting action have all been off the table during 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic put an end to fans attending sports events in mid-March as lockdown restrictions put the health and safety of the public as paramount.
What many had perceived to be a measure that would last several weeks has become several months, but with talks progressing across many sports for fans to make their eagerly-anticipated returns, how have avid sports fans kept themselves entertained in lockdown?
Across all walks of life, the boredom of lockdown saw people become social butterflies with thousands of people turning to social media to get their fix of sports action. The rise of video streaming service TikTok has seen more than 3.8m people become active users in the United Kingdom and for the last few months, a range of sporting challenges have filled the void that life without sport left behind.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some challenges that have kept people busy in 2020.
Launched ahead of UNICEF’s Soccer Aid charity match later this year, more than 229 million likes have been received for videos created on TikTok in just four days as users show off their fancy footwork. As you can imagine, the thrills and spills have quickly gained traction across the globe, with some of the less professional “efforts” causing quite the stir.
The next generation of basketballers have been putting their dribbling skills to the test with a slam dunk challenge that has seen a raft of hilarious and talented attempts. From club teams working together to clamber to the heights needed to dunk the ball properly, to broken basketball nets and household staircase shots, 3.8m people have interacted with the videos globally.
While most sporting events were cancelled, the Professional Darts Corporation hosted a virtual tournament which featured world number three Gerwyn Price competing from the comfort of his own home. For those who were not at an elite level though, there have been an array of fun challenges. In one, a user was lucky to avoid irreversible damage to his TV with a blindfolded effort, but reclaiming the hit game show Bullseye saw amateurs attempt to hit the centre circle on dart boards around their homes.
Street sports brand SkateHut went viral on TikTok when pro scooter rider Jordan Clark featured on one of their videos, drawing in 2.2m views. Skateboarding was set for its Olympic Games debut in Tokyo this summer before the pandemic put paid to those plans.
It’s not just the pros that have been working on their skills in lockdown though, as masses take their boards from the local skate park to their back yard, and sometimes even their stairs for some extreme home challenges.
One of the biggest crazes to sweep social media this year has involved a toilet roll and football skill, or apparent lack of—no wonder you couldn’t find any on the shelves of your local supermarket! There have been more than 750million video views of people trying to do keepy-uppies, with pro footballers like Lionel Messi and amateurs alike putting their skills to the test.
While professional sport has been on the backburner this spring and summer, we’ve been far from disappointed by the lack of sporting action on social media. Will any of the TikTok challenges become the new norm though when sport does finally kick back into gear though? Watch this space.