Practicality and Hope in Weird Times
Hey everybody. First off, I hope that all of you are doing well, staying safe, staying sane, and staying healthy. This is just a stream of thought blog with no sports analysis but once in a while, I like to write just to write, and this is the kind of stuff I did when I first joined RG, so here you go!
Hey all, how’s it going?
Everything still weird? Yeah, same here.
As we now enter about two months after Rudy Gobert broke the sports world and life started feeling more and more like some weird lifetime version of an apocalyptic movie, it got me realizing that, for the first time in a long time, I’m actually starting to feel somewhat optimistic about sports-related stuff, and really, everyday life related stuff. And, to put things in perspective, this is happening at a time when the place I live (Lincoln, NE) is relatively exploding with confirmed positive cases of Covid, going from about 120 nine days ago to nearly 400 today. So, obviously, we’re peaking, and it’s getting kind of intense, as it also coinciding with a lot of businesses reopening, so this could get a lot worse before it gets better. And yes, I acknowledge that those numbers are nothing compared to what many of you have gone through, but it’s all relative.
Please don’t get me wrong. Many people have absolutely had their lives turned upside down by this. Many lives have been lost, and, sadly, that’s going to continue for a while. This has created a living hell for many, in many different ways. I am not understating that, and please don’t think that I’m not sympathetic to it. It’s terrifying, and sad, and depressing, and, worst of all, reality.
So, why the reason for optimism?
Well for one, I’m trying my best to stop worrying about things I can’t control, as there is just way, way too much of that. I can’t control this virus, and I can’t control other people. I can’t control businesses opening, I can’t control others losing their lives and jobs, and I can’t control people who are safe, people who aren’t safe, or people that think this whole thing is some big scam. Hell, I can’t even control if my ankle decides to randomly go out walking down the stairs, causing me to fall a few steps and question my life decisions for a few minutes until I realize that I’m actually still breathing and relatively unharmed (not that that happened last week or anything). I can control what I can control, which is limiting my news intake, maximizing time with my family, finding ways to pass the time constructively, and attempting to have a better attitude. I can do my best to respect others’ opinions on all this stuff, because they are just as entitled to their opinions as I am to mine, and neither one of us is “wrong” because opinions are just that, and, most of all, I can avoid reading any sort of comments section anywhere on the internet, because that’s where all positivity and optimism goes to die. But, before you think this is all flowers and butterflies, let me share with you my top three hobbies, in this order:
1. DFS (especially NBA, hence the yearly challenges).
2. Going to the gym
3. Collecting comic books (specifically Marvel books like X-Men)
So, obviously #1 has been removed, #2 has been removed and, for those fellow nerds out there, you know that #3 has been removed as well. So yeah, that has sucked substantially, and, I’m not going to lie, there have been some very, very dark days where, in the past, I could escape into a hobby and things would feel a bit better. I’m in my 14th year teaching and basically over night I had to rethink every single thing I do as a professional, and find ways to do it without in-person interaction, and the whole reason I am a teacher in the first place is because I love spending time with the kids. Well, remove the kid aspect, and all that’s left are the crappy things, like (virtual) meetings, emails and grading. So yeah, that hasn’t been fun. And then the whole “hey your 3 year old and 5 year old boys are going to be home 24/7 for forever, so enjoy!” Which has also been awesome. But you know what? I’m also lucky to still be getting paid, and so is my wife (who is also home 3/5 days per week), and we’re all healthy and still (relatively) getting along, and I have to remind myself that it could be a lot, lot worse. I can’t spend time with my parents because, well I’m almost 38 so you do the math, and my surviving grandmas are obviously way off-limits. But I’ve also been fortunate enough to, so far, not have had many in my circle adversely affected by the virus, other than its impact on daily life. Have there been days where I’m about ready to explode, having sent texts to all my friends going through the exact same thing, saying my rage level is at like a 22 on a 10 point scale and I’m about ready to just drive until I run out of gas and sit in my car indefinitely in the middle of nowhere just so I can have some peace and quiet? Of course I have. Would I give anything to go to a restaurant, put in my headphones, order some food and play Candy Crush on my phone, “hiding” in a crowd of people? All the time. I’m human, and we’re all human, and we’re all experiencing this bizarro version of life together, at the same time. You’re struggling and life is weird? Hey man, me too. And so is your neighbor. And so is your neighbor’s uncle, that kid down the street, and the weirdo you always used to see reading the nutrition labels on soap in the store. We’re, quite literally, ALL going through some weird version of this, and it might be that way for a while, and all of our versions are unique in that we are all affected differently. But, at the end of the day, we’re all being affected in some way or another, and it’s important to keep that in mind. If there was ever a time where people should be understanding of what others are going through, it’s right now. And yet, it doesn’t always seem to be that way, does it?
The reality is, I’ve been very lucky. And sometimes putting it down in words like this is just what it takes to put everything into perspective.
Which brings me back to the optimism. For one, NFL came out with a schedule and say they’re going to play. Is that a done-deal? Of course not. But it gives me something to look forward to. The draft was also very refreshing and human. And, is it just me, or is Roger Goodell almost seeming like a real person…?
A lot of media outlets are getting further and further away saying “if” to “when” the NBA comes back. Again, we don’t know it’s going to happen, but hope is better than no hope! And, wow, if you aren’t watching The Last Dance yet, you are missing out! If you are worried you won’t be able to watch it, just tell your wife/gf/whatever that it’s the sequel to Save the Last Dance and plead ignorance later when they can’t find Julia Stiles.
Gyms across the nation are starting to reopen (and some never closed, somehow). Marvel Comics is saying they’ll start shipping new comics again in June. Heck, even Legion Baseball is tentatively going to happen again around here, and, like I said, some things are starting to reopen with new, hopefully safe, rules to stay open. Most importantly for normalcy’s sake, people are getting their jobs back, many have rediscovered old hobbies (board games, anyone?), many friends and family are somehow closer than they were before despite physical distancing (thank goodness this didn’t happen 20 years ago, right?), and we probably bought the human race at least a thousand more years due to how much less pollution we’ve been putting out there on a daily basis. Heck, the sci-fi geek in me almost thinks this is a way of the planet being like “ya’ll need to chill out and stop killing me, so chew on this for a bit!” But I digress.
Yes, I have hope, because I have to have hope. I have two little boys whose lives I’m trying to keep normal, and I cant let them see how much this weird new world can bring me down, and, as I’ve said, I’ve been down that path many times. And I’ll probably be there again some days, especially as the virus continues its rampage through the world. But I’ve gotta try to stay positive. We are literally going through something that none of us have ever gone through before, and, though its often compared to the Spanish Flu from 100 years ago, it’s not like any of us were around for that, and it’s not like the world was anything like it is now. Right now, and all we can do is take care of what we can, do our best, and remember that others are going through it as well next time you get frustrated because you see somebody with or without a mask on; we’re all in this together, as they say in High School Musical (don’t act like you haven’t seen it, either). In other words, try to be the best you that you can be, and hopefully we can all start talking live sports again soon!