Rob Opie on emerging stronger from the Covid tunnel

Written on 06/28/2021
Nadya Swart

Very often, tough circumstances make way for exceptional people to rise above their situation. The last 18 months of Covid-19 and perpetual lockdowns has been a period which epitomises tough circumstances. While it is easy and only natural for this to weigh any human being down, it is vital to find the glimmers of hope that exist amid the darkness – because they are there. In this article, Rob Opie – founder of The Game Plan – tells the story of two pro golfers who came back stronger after contracting Covid-19. Their periods of self-isolation appear to have provided them with the time to reset their ‘Purpose, Priorities and Performance goals.’ An uplifting article in uncertain and dark times.  – Nadya Swart

Your greatest challenge is often your greatest opportunity

By Rob Opie*

On 11th October 2020, World Number One golfer, Dustin Johnson tested positive for Covid.

He spent the next 11 days holed up in a hotel room alone.

Now that’s enough to drive anyone a little crazy.

But, thirty five days later, Dustin pulled on his first US Masters green jacket.  

Wow.

As a supreme athlete, he was lucky in that he only experienced mild symptoms, but those 11 days alone could have gone either way for him. For him it gave him time and triggered a few re-thinks on what golf – and what life is all about.

Dialled in and seeming outwardly and inwardly calm with our new way of the world, he bounced back turning his own personal Covid Challenge into opportunity – to capture his second golf major.

Spanish golfer Jon Rahm recently experienced a similar roller coaster ride – when Emotional ‘E’ power took full control. Most of us felt disappointment for our own Louis Oosthuizen who came so close to capturing his second major, but it was Jon Rahm who came flying back from Covid isolation to win the US OPEN at Torrey Pines.

On Saturday, June 5, 2021, Rahm – whilst leading the third round of the Memorial Tournament – was pulled out of the tournament due to a positive Covid test. His immediate anguish was evident on television when told by the PGA Tour’s medical adviser.  

He was on the verge of winning the tournament and taking home a 1.7 million dollar first prize. But, this was not his top priority. His top priority was a plan to reunite with his parents – who were yet to have met his newborn son.

Suddenly he knew he was facing an uncertain period of self-isolation away from his family – and not knowing if he would be eligible to play in the upcoming US OPEN. 

His emotional roller-coaster ride had begun.

“I believe from the biggest setbacks we can get some of the biggest breakthroughs,” Jon Rahm

After self-isolating for a period, Rahm tested negative again, and bounced back to win the US OPEN on Sunday 20th June – Fathers Day.

His family was there. 

While these two inspiring stories relate to two great athletes, one thing is for sure, and that is that Covid has consumed our lives in both professional and personal ways.

Most important is how we react to the uncertainty, fear and doubt – even loss – that becomes inevitable when a pandemic continues – and isolation and loss take a massive toll on the human psyche. 

The antidote for these negative emotions are the positive emotions which the great champions of sport have in abundance, namely:

Faith , Confidence and Belief – called FCB.

Whatever your challenge or however high ‘the mountain‘ you may have to climb, may it be covid, cancer, depression, addiction or just the common one termed ‘burnout’- Covid has in a different way gifted us all a lot of time to re-think our Purpose, refine our Priorities and reset our Performance goals. 

It’s given us the time to reset our lives.

Those who take the time to reset and realign their own three personal P’s – will be the ones who emerge from the Covid tunnel a lot wiser and a lot stronger.

#GRABTHEOPPORTUNITY