On Saturday morning, I got up, flipped on the TV and the first words I heard were those of MSNBC’s Katy Tur, who said, “In other crises, we have been accustomed to coming together. Now we have to stay apart.”
Though I made some coffee anyway, those words perked me right up, and I could feel a column coming up with the sun.
In addition to worrying about our health, most of us are social beings. COVID-19 has made us lonely. We yearn for the kind of camaraderie that comes from going to ballgames where we can cheer our teams to victory, mingle in the parking lots, clap our hands to the fight songs and slap each other on the backs.
Cheering is not a part of the reporter’s life, but camaraderie is. I love hanging out on a practice field and chatting with coaches. Local football teams have resumed limited activities this month, and it’s given me some of the enjoyment I had been missing.
I remain cautious. I have friends who have come down with the dread virus. I take either my trusty bandana or a mask. When I’m at a safe distance, I lower the bandana to my neck and raise it over my mouth and nose when either I’m close to someone or I feel the sudden urge to sneeze.
Getting out in the fresh air makes me excessively cheerful. I love taking pictures of kids playing baseball. At Laurens City Park, the area for the players has been increased. Small bleachers have been fenced off so that the kids can give themselves more room. It’s hard to shoot through the gaps in the fences, so when most of one team trots out to take positions on the field, I step into that area and take photos through a gap in the gate. Then I walk around to the other side of the diamond and shoot through the holes in the fence until that team takes the field.
I might tell a kid that he is wearing the number of my favorite player (it’s “8,” even though that player was last active in 1983), and the kid replies by saying something like “cool.” That, in itself, is cool because it would be unlikely for the kid to recognize the word “Yastrzemski.”
The limitations also make it difficult to capture a play of great skill. I’m just as happy to find an endearing expression. I make the best of the limitations.
I’ve grown tired of watching ballgames whose outcome I already know, such as “2014 ALCS, Game 5,” and I’m not about to watch such a replay if I know my favorite team lost it.
Some people, apparently, derive enjoyment from the Johnsonville ACL Cornhole Championships or the FIM SidecarCross World Championship, but I’m not one of them.
As it now stands, I’d rather cover the L&L Office Supply Cubs against the Firmin Ford Reds than the Daytona 500. Then again, I’ve already covered 22 Daytona 500s, and at this point in life, I miss the beach there more than the race track.
The beach isn’t on TV … yet.