Let The Games Begin

I know I can’t hug

I can’t get to close to you

But I need something

Together we see this through

Stay present and let it come

Maybe you find what you need

– James

Softball in the summer, as American as hip hop, fake news, and apple pie, right? Well, maybe a slightly different version of one of our favorite past-times, in today’s virus infested reality…

We start the day following a familiar script. Its early Saturday morning, as we walk towards the field. The dew on the grass lets you know you are one of the first to arrive. The air smells fresh and the sun is already sharing a warm welcoming glow. As we get close you feel the presence of the tall, fully formed trees surrounding the ball field like a glove. You can hear the birds within tweeting urgently back and forth, back and forth, as their daily work begins. Its opening day for our girl’s summer softball and the anticipation is off the chart. We can’t wait to see the other parents, to catch up on all the latest trips and juicy gossip. So much of this play is unfolding normally, or is it…

Hang on, there are new social distancing guidelines to follow, boundaries that mustn’t be crossed. Hello my friend, is that really you behind the mask. Do you want to talk about softball or catch-up on life? Can’t tell what you desire, are you now a stranger behind the mask. Where is that smile, that smile I remembered, that smile that said, “come here, let’s share”. Nowhere to be seen. But the eyes are there as bright as bulbs, they do talk for sure. But all I could hear is, I never knew they were blue. Well anyway, rather than the normal hug, kiss, and chit chat, we wave hello at a safe distance and find a spot to settle before the game. A little strange, but I guess this is the new normal, right…

The girls on the other hand are busy warming up and getting ready for their cross-town rivals, the hated Vipers. They are laser focused. As they say, kids have a fearless approach to life that can be infectious. Will this be the game where they finally come out on top? The umpire finally yells, Play Ball! and our girls take the field. So, here’s where it begins to get even stranger. The Vipers come to bat and quickly put up five runs. I say to myself, I’ve seen this story before. The parents on our side are quiet and subdued, but is it the score or is it the new social compact? Our girls come to bat, and quickly go down one, two, three. The first inning over and the dreaded Vipers are ahead five zip. The old story is continuing to play out. It’s cricketsville on our side. Well, it gets much worse after that, the Vipers put up another five runs and the home team finds itself in a ten-run hole. That’s when the magic begins to happen…

It’s like a light shown down from above, all of a sudden, the girls found a new sense of confidence. There was great play, after great play. One timely hit after another. A ten-to-zero deficit turned into an eleven-to-eleven tie. And just like that everyone started to believe, not just the girls, but the parents. Yes, the parents were transformed! Cheers and chants began to ring out in support of our girls. Social distancing be damned, we’re all getting into this emotion, at a safe distance of course… You know, like high fives without the contact. But we’re not thinking about the separation. We’re thinking about the connection we all share at the moment. Despite the masks, the distance, and the fear, we can all still share in an exciting human moment. We can still experience the social connection we all yearn and need today.  

It was a great day for the home team, they scored another two runs in the bottom of the final inning and won thirteen-to-eleven, finally beating the dreaded Vipers, who are actually a great group of girls who know how to play some softball.

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