I shut everything down.
When things shut down around me in the past few days, I knew that mitigating a fast-spreading virus like COVID-19 would mean more than just shuttering all sports, museums, concerts, and big things.
It meant even little businesses like mine should shut down, too.
So, I closed my Yoga studio, cancelled my massage clients. And, here I sit.
Because, isn’t this what it means to “do your part”?
But, if the bars and restaurants and movie theaters are still open and people are still going, am I just wasting my time?
As I said to some of my clients, “I don’t want to see you on Monday and then have to call you on Wednesday and say, ‘Hey! Guess what I just tested positive for?’”
If closing is the right thing to do, why do I feel so terrible about this?
OK, that helped to say all that.
Now that you’ve kindly read through my “stress dump,” we, of course, need to get to the nut of things …
This virus has taken away baseball. It has taken away sports. It has taken away my “Happy Place.” Maybe your “Happy Place,” too.
I have no back-up “Happy Place.”
On Tuesday afternoon – playing hooky – I sat in the stands at the University of Virginia’s Davenport Field in our luxurious new season seats that look straight through home plate and right down the third-base line.
Freshman Max Cotier, on third and thinking about maybe, just maybe, stealing home. He didn’t steal, but he did score. (See, I told you … great seats!)
Virginia beat UMass-Lowell on Tuesday afternoon 24-5.
When it seemed clear that the game would be a major blow-out … and, you know, blow-outs and batting around in multiple innings can take some time (ultimately, three hours and 32 minutes) … we thought about leaving. It was getting late.
We didn’t leave.
I’m glad we didn’t.
It seems like a million years ago.
My heart breaks for all the student athletes who had their season pulled right out from under them just 48 hours later.
(My heart breaks, too, for all those college students around the country who, when classes were cancelled and they were told to go home, went straight to packing the bars. My heart breaks for them because, clearly, they’re going to need all the education they can get, and apparently not much has stuck so far.)Embed from Getty Images
In January 1942, Major League Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis wrote to ask President Roosevelt what to do about baseball.
In the midst of World War II – a war that demanded sacrifices from everyone – Landis asked if the season should be suspended.
Roosevelt responded the next day.
The next day. (I’m just astounded, because sometimes I don’t respond to emails and texts for a week, and I’m not a President trying to win a war in 1942. I’m just sitting here mitigating.)
In what we now call “The Green Light Letter,” Roosevelt told Landis to keep baseball going. Citizens, he wrote, “ought to have a chance for recreation and for taking their minds off their work even more than before.”
It was a thoughtful response from a President with a lot on his mind.
And, baseball went on.
This is different, totally different. Games and crowds put people at risk – the players, the staff, the fans.
So, no baseball. No sports. That’s the right call.
But, I sure wish we had a little something to take our minds off of all this.
Oh. One more thing …
Many years ago when I worked in an office, our organization was planning to move to a new space. Everyone was excited to move to shiny new quarters with speedy magic cables that would hook us straight to the Internet! But, when it came to details – things would have to be sorted, and many things thrown away, and there would be sacrifices of desk space and cabinet space – people started getting a little testy.
So, the Human Resources director put a scrolling line on her computer’s screensaver:
There is no change without change.
I hope she’s reading this so she sees that I remember that line from more than 20 years ago. And, today I am updating it …
Don’t just wash your hands so you don’t get sick.
Stay put, so you don’t make someone else sick.
Baseball has a pretty slim track record lately of “doing the right thing.” But, they’re doing the right thing now. So, do your part, too.
There is no mitigation without mitigation.