My youngest child, my son, is 21 years old. That means he was three when 9-11 happened. He doesn’t remember much about those dark days, those horrific images. He does recall something dramatic. September of 2001 is the first time he saw his dad cry. I am not ashamed to say I cried a lot back then as I wondered where our world was headed.
This world crisis has made me react differently. It has scared the “you know what” out of me. Like 9-11, everyone will have a “where were you?” story to share about COVID-19. The day prior to any formal news announcements or pandemic awareness, I was at the new Globe Life Field in the midst of a large social gathering. There was a season ticket holder open house that day. There was excitement in the air as we sampled new foods that would be available and explored this beautiful ballpark and its state-of-the-art amenities. There were hugs and handshakes.
As I left the ballpark that night things began to change. The Oklahoma City Thunder game against the Utah Jazz was called off…?! Then we found out why. Rudy Gobert had tested positive for COVID-19. That is when everything in my world, your world, our world began to change. Most days since have been a mixture of disbelief, fear, anger and hope.
For now, let’s focus on hope. It started quickly for me. As I listened to Mark Cuban on the Mavs post game show that night, I was inspired by his immediate reaction to pay the game-day employees even during the time that there were no games. It would have been easy for him to wallow in grief and bemoan the fact that his precious NBA was going to shut down.
But, instead, he thought of others.
Not how does this news affect me; rather how does it affect others who are less fortunate? There is a lesson for all of us in that single and immediate action taken by Cuban. You don’t have to be a billionaire to help others. There are many in our social circles and local community that could use our assistance. As this health crisis continues we must continue to help others when we can. Support does not have to be financial. A smile or a word of thanks and encouragement can go a long way during these unprecedented times.
But, oh, how I miss sports! I’m sure most of you do too. The reality is that when you have been blessed by a career of covering sports, this is a double loss.
Perhaps if we model the teamwork and perseverance of our favorite teams, and each play our part in the containment and recovery game plan, we will get back to our beloved pastimes more quickly. And with renewed enthusiasm, appreciation and joy.
One thing I remember vividly about the aftermath of 9-11 is how the American people came together. In a different time, we literally and figuratively joined hands and hearts to defeat this unseen enemy known as al Qaeda. There was a spirit among us that was indefatigable.
We would not be beaten.
A similar thing is happening now. We may not sit in a ballpark or arena to cheer on our favorite players … but we do cheer on our healthcare workers, our service providers, our elected officials and all who continue to grapple with a new reality and work to serve us.
As a team, we adhere to the recommendations and limitations requested of us, for the greater good, because that is the best way to beat this thing.
And when we do beat COVID-19 … that is when I will shed my tears. Of gratitude and joy.
Stay safe, friends.