"We will be back stronger," was an oft-heard mantra during the dark depths of the coronavirus shutdowns.
Now that the country is nearing zero cases and rolling out assorted vaccines in the hope that the situation never returns, it could be argued that Tasmanian sport has come back strongerer than any other aspect of Australian society.
OK, so there is no such word as strongerer, but NBA commentators repeatedly talk about players' maturation when they clearly mean maturity, so I'm sticking with it.
Since the nation's sporting peloton started to return to something like normal, Tassie has embarked on a lone breakaway off the front.
State titles also abound in sports as diverse as equestrianism, bowls, athletics (all Launceston), sailing, swimming and little athletics (all Hobart).
Admittedly, athletics and little athletics are not that diverse, but I didn't want to lose the North-South balance.
The national SB20 sailing championships on the River Derwent deserve special mention, not just for successfully enticing a star-studded field amid such logistical complications but for the women's division to be led by a boat with the superb name Cook Your Own Dinner.
The likes of AstraZeneca and Pfizer may be recent arrivals to our shores, but Tasmanian sporting venues have been running hot for some time.
January's two-part Race Tasmania at Symmons Plains and Baskerville was the state's biggest motorsport event since the last Supercars pit stop; the Launceston, Hobart and Devonport cups all galloped along as if Cantering Covid was a late scratching; national football and basketball competitions paid visits with UTAS Stadium hosting North Melbourne and Carlton in the AFLW and NBL sides SE Melbourne Phoenix and New Zealand Breakers heading to Kingston for pre-season games; and cricket has continued to push the boundaries courtesy of the Big Bash League, Sheffield Shield and WNCL.
When Hawks president Jeff Kennett says Tasmania can't afford a team, it is worth remembering that the state has been paying for his for the last 20 years.— Rob Shaw (@TheShawThing) March 3, 2021
And St Kilda. And North Melbourne.
A week of short memories and vested interests in AFLland.https://t.co/I2CTqWXk9x
There were some casualties, however.
Men's and women's One Day Internationals scheduled against New Zealand and India respectively at Bellerive Oval in January went the same way as the Launceston, Hobart and Burnie tennis internationals while the AFL were as decisive with their pre-season competition as they have been with the prospect of Tasmania's own team.
Originally, matches were scheduled between Hawthorn and Port Adelaide at UTAS Stadium on March 6 and North Melbourne against Adelaide at North Hobart Oval on February 28.
Then this was amended to the Hawks versus Kangaroos at UTAS on March 6 before being canned altogether.
As things stand, eight regular-season matches are destined for Tassie this year, beginning with a hectic sequence of three in four weeks.
Hawthorn host Adelaide in Launceston on April 25, a week before the Kangaroos begin their Hobart fixtures against Melbourne with Tassie's co-tenants squaring up at UTAS Stadium a fortnight later.
Fremantle (July 10) and Western Bulldogs (August 14) are also on the UTAS agenda with GWS (June 12), Gold Coast (June 26) and Geelong (July 31) to follow at Bellerive in what could be the end of a 20-year run of AFL fixtures being played in Tassie (except for last year obviously).
As the debate rumbles on over which national sporting competitions deem Tasmania to be part of Australia, soccer and basketball will also be dipping their toes into Bass Strait.
Two A-League fixtures featuring league newcomers Western United will be played at UTAS Stadium while across town the Silverdome will host up to six NBL matches with the New Zealand Breakers happy to describe what it's like to be Australian.
Beyond our shores, 2021 sporting events range from a home Ashes series from November to a rearranged Olympic Games in July.
With a likely captain in the former and six of our best already qualified for the latter, Tasmania can continue to lead the way towards both ...
... providing the vaccines prove more successful than NRL integrity officers.
There's still plenty of copies of https://t.co/8AKGz5AuXa available ($29.95) and just look how happy it made Hadspen sporting legends @Corey_Martin91 and @richie_porte.— Rob Shaw (@TheShawThing) September 8, 2020
You too could be that happy. Order at email@example.com or Facebook.
Happy to post ($42.20) or deliver. pic.twitter.com/ay6YrZpkPQ
State sport calendar
- 4-8 Tasmanian Long-Course Swimming Championships, Hobart Aquatic Centre
- 6-7 Tasmanian Little Athletics Championships, Hobart Domain
- 6-8 SB20 Australian Sailing Championships, Hobart
- 6-8 Tasmanian Equestrian Championships, Faulkner Park, Launceston
- 6-12 Bowls Gala Week, Launceston
- 8-14 Australian Mountain Bike Championships, Maydena
- 14 TCL women's final
- 19-21 Tasmanian Athletics Championships, St Leonards
- 20 NPL Tasmania and Women's Super League starts
- 22-28 Australian Rowing Championships, Lake Barrington
- 26-28 Cricket North grand finals
- 27 TCL grand final
- 2 Tasmanian State League starts
- 7 Greater Northern Hockey League starts
- 10 NTFA starts
- 17 NBL1 starts
- 19-24 Targa Tasmania
- 25 Hawthorn v Adelaide, UTAS Stadium