As many of us sit at home and wait for this pandemic to pass, I am beginning to think about how different things have become. Basketball, hockey and baseball will start up again for us and we will once again be able to go to games and watch them on TV. Things will get back to what they once were in this world, but will it be as if nothing had happened?
I have so many mixed feelings while I sit around doing nothing. It ranges from boredom and frustration to peace and tranquility. I have begun to notice things that have been around me everyday that I never noticed before. Like the beautiful flowers that are beginning to bloom and the amazing amount of colorful birds outside my windows. Hey, don’t read into my bird watching as anything other than “nothing left to do.” Trust me, baseball will always be number one for me. Just have the time to notice things now.
I have stopped watching the news on TV. I know it is important news that we all need to hear but, for now, I check in once a day for a few minutes online to see what’s going on in the world. The daily briefings by the President and his experts and the fact that they interrupt my soap opera everyday, only gives me more stress. For now the only thing I need to know is, when do I get to go out and play again?
Will things ever really get back to normal? I think they will not. I feel things will get better. I am realizing just how much I miss my freedom to come and go anytime I want. I also assumed sports would always be there for me. I enjoyed the never ending amount of different sports we have viewed throughout the years but never realized just how important they are to me.
I never gave it a thought that all sports would stop at the same time, with no expectation as to when they would start up again. Sports are seasonal and so they always show me where I am as the year goes by. They have become my calendar. They activate my creative thinking giving me a complex and active life, which to me are the building blocks for a long and exciting existence on this planet. All of what is happening during this catastrophe has given me a different outlook on my life.
We will look at the world of sports a little bit differently from now on. As a matter of fact, we will look at a lot of things in a new way. Yes, going to a baseball game on a beautiful summer day or evening has always been fun but from now on it will become more than just a day at the park. The games will always be the same, albeit for some unnecessary new rule changes, but now we will see things around us at the ballpark that we never noticed before. The sights and smells that have given us comfort and joy. The colors, and quirky corners of the park will become more noticeable. Like those orange foul poles at Citi Field.
I will always remember the many times in the press box with my dear friend, the late Howard Goldin and his words of advice. He would tell me to put down my pen and stop typing once in a while to look out at the stadium and observe everything that is right in front of me. He would always say that there is a bigger story out there and that the box scores or writing down every pitch and whether it was a curve at 74mph or a fastball at 97mph are like doing math. There are things happening out there for you to see.
People are the story. The players are people, the fans are people, the grounds crew are people. I love to watch how the grounds crew gets the field ready for a game. Putting down the lines with expert accuracy, smoothing the dirt to perfection, putting new bases down, folding the temporary tarps and then disappearing down into the bowels of the stadium. By the way, Howard always reminded me to make sure the game was number one, and all the other things added to the experience.
Yes we will have baseball, basketball, hockey and that other sport with a ball that is not round. We will go back to the stadiums with friends and family, but it will be different from now on. We will begin to appreciate all that we have in our amazing country. We have been fortunate to have the opportunities to enjoy sports at every level but the things I will never take for granted again is my freedom and the awe-inspiring things that are right in front of me to enjoy every day.