Baseball is back.
In what seems like yet another desperate move to paint NORMAL over what is the most troubled and difficult year in recent memory, the powers that are Major League Baseball announced that games will commence starting in the last week of July. This year.
Never mind that every state that has opened their doors to kick-start their economies have suffered spikes of new cases of COVID-19. Never mind that there will only be sixty games. And don't even mention that the three weeks of "spring training" will take place in the dead of summer. Apple pie, Chevrolet and hot dogs can't be far behind.
Nor can the National Basketball Association. Their season will wrap up inside a bubble created in Disney World starting at the end of July. Those teams that have already been mathematically removed from playoff contention will be staying home. You might remember when basketball stopped. Suddenly. Two days before the rest of the country was sent home to wait out the pandemic, a flurry of positive cases were identified among NBA players. Then they closed Disneyland.
Somewhere in there, I stopped missing sports. Initially I was caught with my rhythms disturbed. Without a game to anticipate, watch, then reflect on with my friends and neighbors, it seemed as though a chunk of my life had been forcibly removed.
Or maybe it was actually a relief. When my son came up to visit for Father's Day last week there was a moment where we pined for the hours of sitting in the stands, watching a game together. There are years of shared dad and lad moments connected to spectator sports. And at this point I feel the need to say that I fully expect to leave the door open a crack for what has been a shared experience for my family for decades.
But somewhere in the midst of the isolation, there came this other wave. The one that said that Black Lives Matter. All those players who have been trying to shine a light on those lives suddenly came into sharp focus because there were no games to distract us. We were faced with the reality of how we treat Steph Curry, George Floyd, Patrick Mahomes, Trayvon Martin, Bubba Wallace. Some of them are stars. Some of them are martyrs. I have thought a lot about this over the past three months. I am glad to have had the time to reflect. I don't want things to be normal if that means that people have to get sick and die, or be brutalized because of the color of their skin. These are games that no one wins.
They are not games.
This is not normal.