This was supposed to be Opening Day across the country, throughout Major League Baseball. It didn’t happen. A very dangerous virus interrupted play. Lots of people were sad, angry, disappointed and maybe a bit confused. If it’s not Opening Day, then what is it? And what do we do now? There were wonderful replays of several terrific games through the years (like Jack Morris, ten innings, World Series Game 7). I just love watching those old games and reliving the moments. I also started thinking about where we were then and what we were doing as a family – and contrasting that to today. We have a tendency to say “we’re going to change, things won’t be the same, but they’ll be better.” It’s part of our “binary” culture – either/or, right/wrong, good/bad and so on. Usually, life is much more complicated, and more subtle, with variations, making the situation different. Ascribing a value of “good” or “bad” misses the point. Different just IS. It’s value neutral.
So keeping baseball parks shuttered for a while was a good thing for public health. This virus is terribly contagious, especially in large groups. It was also a horrible thing for those of us who have waited patiently for months for our favorite teams to take up play again. Opening Day is a day of hope, promise, dreams. We get excited about the season ahead and can’t wait to have the games on in the background or on TV. I love listening to the Twins play-by-play by Dan Gladden and Cory Provus. They have a great chemistry and the long-haul season is a pleasant one as I listen to them day after day. Those good things are on hold now. I’m also being protected by a sport I care about very deeply. Another good thing is that clubs are providing help to organizations that feed people and they are donating millions of dollars for people who work in the ball parks.
It’s really a “both-and” situation, isn’t it? It’s both a good thing to close parks and it’s a good thing that teams are helping others. It’s a drag not having games to go to or listen to and it’s a drag pulling up old highlight reels or finding something else to do. Both-and; isn’t that usually how things go?
I was so convinced that I was going to get this one particular job, once upon a time, that I bought a new suit. How’s that for confidence? I did not get it. Months later, I got a different job. Some would say that that job was a better fit for me and for my talents. “Aren’t you glad that you didn’t get that other job?” they would say. In some ways, I was. I certainly had good colleagues to work with and thoroughly enjoyed what I did. However, I also had a period a time where I worked for such a terrible manager in a such toxic situation that I almost quit. The job that I thought I was originally going to get paid more than twice the one I ended up taking. It’s hard to say what would have happened had I made twice the income. Perhaps I could have helped my kids more with their college tuition and kept some loans off their backs. And perhaps there would have been equally wonderful people to work with on that team – more money and great people – wow, as good as it gets, wouldn’t you say? The point is, life is rarely just simply better after a change. In some ways it could be and in others not so much. Definitely, we can say that things are different. And “different” does not necessarily have to mean “bad.”
I have worked with families who had a miscarriage. There was great expectation about their “Opening Day” experience with that new arrival. Rooms were painted, blankets secured, furniture assembled. Choosing names, dreaming of having a new person around, thinking ahead to riding bikes or playing baseball, even getting far ahead into the future with dreams and hopes. Then something happened. The baby didn’t make it. Well-meaning people tried to put a nice spin on things and say that the future will be better, the couple stronger than ever. Well, sure, in some ways the couple will undoubtedly be stronger (what could happen to them in the future that could top the pain of losing a child?) but hardly better. Different, yes. I’m not sure it could ever be “better.”
Here’s the thing. We are an amazing creature. We can experience incredible pain and survive. We are not the most patient creatures on earth but we can learn to endure. We have hopes and dreams but we can learn to adjust and adapt, roll with life’s punches. Keeping alive Little League affirmation, we keep our community strong. Atta boy! Atta girl! You’ve got this!