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Life lessons learned in a pandemic

Houston Astros v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Like many of you, I suspect, I’m not sleeping very well lately. It seems as though my mind is extremely active in the middle of the night, and sadly, it’s not usually busy with thoughts of baseball. If these were “normal” times, I might be waking up after a particularly unfortunate Twins loss rehashing all the moves that I imagine I would have made differently. Maybe I’d be wondering why Baldelli didn’t remove the pitcher before it was too late, or maybe why he didn’t leave a pitcher in who seemed to be mowing them down.

Once I got past my questions about moves we made, I might logically turn my attention to the umpires. Perhaps I’d be angry that an obvious strike three wasn’t given to Odorizzi, and then the batter doubled down the line on the next pitch when Jake felt obligated to throw it over the middle of the plate. Or, in contrast, it’s possible I’d be upset that the umpire called Cruz out on a 3-2 pitch when it was clearly inside, ending what could have been a game changing rally. Those are the things I’m used to losing sleep over at this time of year. Not this. Not’s what happening in the world around us now.

Everything seems so unimportant in the face of a global pandemic and I guess, in truth, everything else really is. Instead of baseball diverting our attention from the mundane daily activities which usually occupy our minds, many of us now struggle with working from home, or the even greater stress that naturally accompanies a layoff, job loss, or health concern. In sum, we’ve all got issues, and our new issues seem so much larger than our old ones, and for too many of us, our minds don’t really have a lot of room for baseball right about now.

I wish my mind had room for that, as I could really use the sleep, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you could too. But for now, I’ll probably wake up in the middle of the night again tonight and maybe this time I should just make sure my thoughts drift toward the people who are all holding us together. People who perhaps are so tired when they hit the pillow that they don’t have the freedom to wake up in the middle of the night to think about something or nothing at all.

We miss our favorite sport, and we miss our favorite players, and I’m certainly not among the first to say this, but maybe now is the time to truly re-focus our thoughts on more important things, whether those thoughts are waking or not. We will get back, hopefully sometime soon, to admiring those who play baseball at a level we never could, but maybe for now we should focus upon those people working hard day-to-day to make life go on as well as it can. Healthcare workers, grocery store workers, delivery persons, firefighters, police officers, and the rest who don’t have the luxury of waking up tired or sleeping in and not getting dressed until noon, they are who we should be losing sleep over right about now.

We don’t give them standing ovations or scream until we’re hoarse when they do something we admire, but it’s time to let them all know that we do admire them, and we do appreciate them, and most of all, it would be entirely understandable if some of us were losing sleep over them. Be well, front-line workers, and may we not take you for granted in the future. Even when the future returns to being “normal” and we may be tempted to take you for granted again. You’ve deserved better from us in the past, and perhaps the only good thing that will come from all of this tragedy around us, is that we may all be encouraged to treat you better in the future. If we don’t learn that, then we will be the ones who struck out on a fastball right down the middle.