A good friend of mine with a great GAA history has been in hospital this week, battling Covid. His diagnosis came as a real jolt to me, a reminder that this virus is on all our doorsteps right now, playing Russian roulette with the health of the nation. And, instinctively, it triggered that human reflex to just pull the shutters down, suspend normality.
You start thinking about how vulnerable we all ultimately are, even when being careful and just trying to do the simple everyday things.
Once that mindset sets in, it becomes a bit of a stretch to be comfortable with the idea of a full GAA Championship coming down the tracks, especially so with the complication of it involving two different jurisdictions.
But I am still firmly in the camp suggesting that this Championship could be absolutely essential for the mental health of the nation. It is about more than sport and I do feel it can be run off safely.
The biggest issue seems to be that we are amateurs bracketed together with professional athletes. In other words, people living and working in the general community being judged the same way as other elite athletes operating, essentially, in a closely-guarded bubble.
Now we've seen on Twitter just how divisive this can be in recent days, Westmeath's John Heslin expressing his concern "from a health and welfare perspective, both individually and collectively" for the inter-county player while Armagh's Stefan Campbell was of a view that cancelling the Championship "would be a catastrophe".
The hard truth here, of course, is that neither man is wrong.
But please spare me the kind of grandstanding we then saw from the GPA, miraculously deciding to send a questionnaire to their members just two days out from the resumption of inter-county action. Who do they honestly imagine they are impressing here?
As I see it, they read John Heslin's tweet and reacted. It was knee-jerk and insincere, an exercise in optics, nothing more.
My own view has changed over time. I believe we've got to deal with this virus now as if it's something that's here to stay. We all hope, of course, that it isn't but, for now, that's surely got to be our mindset.
That's not for a second to excuse the few who continue to behave irresponsibly. Honestly, their behaviour infuriates me and it is coming from all walks of life. But it's just not feasible to shut down society until someone comes up with a vaccine. Because, let's be honest, there's always the danger nobody will.
And right now I'm not sure there's ever been a Championship more desperately needed by the GAA community.
I even detect a giddiness around this weekend's National League resumption and the fact that there's such a line-up of games available on the TV. No it isn't simple to compute that amateur players commit themselves to this schedule now at a time the rest of us aren't even allowed make house visits to friends or relatives.
I get that.
But just before Level 3 came in here in Cork, I was involved with a young Glanmire team that won a county final. And, my God almighty, the buzz we got from it you couldn't buy. Just the elation of winning a championship.
And that's what's been missing from so many lives of late. That electricity of competition. I don't care what anybody says, the GAA is the beating heart of this country. Without it over the coming months, I have little doubt a great many people will be more susceptible to depression.
Now maybe the possibility of Dublin making it six-in-a-row wouldn't be everybody's cup of tea, but I'd take it today ahead of an empty three months in front of us.
I was reading an interview Bernard Brogan did recently in which he referenced the danger of Heslin's Westmeath 'catching' Dublin in this Leinster Championship. As I read it, I expected we were heading for some kind of punchline.
But that punchline never came and, slowly, I came to realise that this was actually a glimpse into the Dublin mindset. The dogs in the street know Bernard's talking about a Leinster Championship that's barely fit for purpose at this stage, but these champions just refuse to let their guard down.
It's why they don't get caught. Because they still refuse to cut any corners. And I recognise some of the old Kerry way in that.
People might have referred to it as 'yerrah stuff' when we'd mention the dangers posed by Clare or Tipp or Limerick in Munster. But, honestly, we conditioned ourselves into seeing danger at every turn. It wasn't being a smart ass.
It was maybe just the opposite.
Anyway, it's another reason why I cannot see a whole amount of danger for Dublin in this Championship. The provincial inequality helps them for a start and by that I mean their first serious challenge is due the opening week of December when they play the Ulster Champions in an All-Ireland semi-final.
If their opponents turn out - as many expect - to be Donegal, Declan Bonner's team will have had to negotiate their way past Tyrone and possibly Armagh and Monaghan to get there. Either way, they'll have had three serious tests. Dublin will have had none.
This is an old drum to be beating I know. But the more things keep changing in this floundering world, the more the glaring disparities of the GAA's provincial system stay the same.
Like if Mayo want to get that far, they'll almost certainly have to overcome Roscommon and Galway. In Munster, Kerry and Cork face into a potential humdinger of a semi-final just a week into November.
Living down here, I've seen enough of these Cork players to know they've been chronically under-achieving in recent times and that - in my opinion - has to come back, consistently, to management.
I hope they beat Louth this weekend, win their final game and approach the Kerry tie with confidence. Imagine their mindset then going into a game against their greatest foe, in their own backyard and with nobody giving them much chance?
They're going to be incredibly motivated now by the possibility of knocking Kerry out of the Championship.
Honestly, that could be one of the games of this Championship.
So try picking holes in the Dubs' case all you like, I won't be buying any of it. Bottom line, the system still suits them beautifully.
Dessie Farrell needs to have them right, essentially, for two weeks in December. Do you honestly think he won't be able to sell that carrot to probably the greatest team we've seen?
I mean who are the sides most likely to come at them swinging? Donegal or Tyrone, probably. Galway, maybe. Kerry, if they can get that far.
Jim McGuinness' presence at a Galway training session in Tuam last weekend certainly piqued interest in what Padraic Joyce is doing. Personally, I think it makes perfect sense to broaden your coaching horizons and, let's face it, McGuinness has been one of the most innovative GAA men we've seen in recent times.
Intensity, focus and tactical acumen were just some of the qualities he brought to a Donegal team few enough people were taking seriously before he landed. Men of his calibre are precious in the GAA.
Another of that bracket, Donie Buckley, was good enough to do a session for me with those young Glanmire footballers about two weeks before our county final. And I can tell you now, his presence instantly lifted the tempo of what we were doing. He was transformative.
So, to me, Joyce bringing in McGuinness is a sign of strength. Just as I see Kerry's decision not to work with Buckley as a sign of weakness.
Either way, I sincerely hope this is a Championship we can see through to the finish.
The logistics for all management teams are going to be hugely challenging, something hammered home in recent days I suppose by the problems landed at Stephen Kenny's door with the Republic of Ireland.
If a group of full-time professionals can't keep a protective bubble intact, what chance GAA squads? For managers, I can only assume that the concept of personal responsibility is being hammered home almost on a daily basis now.
That said, unless the players have been hiding under rocks, they'll already understand its importance.
I heard of one county team training last week who were rightly denied access to a hotel meeting room, given it would have been in contravention of current restrictions. So even team meetings are, by necessity, happening out in the open now. It's the only way.
In other words, the players surely see that the onus is on them, individually, to absorb exactly why it's happening.
So I absolutely get the concerns expressed by Heslin this week.
They've a responsibility to their families, to their workmates, to everybody they come into contact with outside of what is - technically remember - a pastime. They and their management teams also have an absolute obligation to be brutally honest here. The concept of 'close contacts', for example, seems to me to be open to convenient interpretation.
Are we vulnerable to the possibility of someone in management feeling a need to counsel some player against mentioning the fact they might have been in the same car as a colleague who tests positive? The closer we get to big games, the stronger the temptation.
So trust is going to be a huge issue here. Put it this way, if I was still playing for Kerry, I'd be living on my nerves going about my daily job as a primary school teacher.
I don't doubt I'd be so stressed by the whole thing, the temptation would be to take sick days left, right and centre.
I'm a worrier by nature anyway, but I've 27 children in my class and just think about the potential contact tentacles of that number? Now double-down on that and factor it into a secondary-school environment, where students move from class to class?
In terms of possible transmission, I think teacher is probably one of the trickiest frontline jobs you can have.
And face it, there's a fair few inter-county GAA players who are teachers.
Personally, I'd certainly have no issue driving to the games individually rather than my pet hate, traveling together on a bus. But that will be the least of a manager's concerns.
I know if I was Peter Keane I'd be looking for ways to wrap the likes of David Clifford in cotton wool, to keep them almost out of general society for the duration of Kerry's involvement which, hopefully, will last eight weeks.
And I will ask one question: would everything right now be hanging by a thread if the predicament Ryan McMenamin has faced this week in Fermanagh (multiple players testing positive) presented itself at the door of Dublin or Kerry? Would the powers-that-be have reacted differently?
I ask that question because, make no mistake about it, there's still a class-system at play within the GAA.
That said, I believe we need this Championship now maybe more than we've ever needed it. But on this very basis, I think we should appreciate what is being expected of the players here. They are not professional athletes, yet everything they're being asked to do as inter-county players right now pretty much suggests they might as well be.
So we should be aware of and thankful for their selflessness.
Because, to me, mental health issues represent the greatest challenge facing this country right now. And, yes, greater I would suggest even than this war against Covid itself. No question, it's going to take a hell of a lot more than TV access to big GAA games to address that issue properly. But I fervently believe that having this Championship can and will help a lot of people.
So thank God it's coming our way now, regardless of who ends up with Sam.
Dublin are still the best in my view, but no they're certainly not bullet-proof.
If someone manages to pin them up against a wall in December, it'll be interesting to see exactly what appetite they've retained.
Because there's always that tiny chance it might desert them. But I very much doubt it.