There are times when I want to simplify things, to quiet the mind.
In regard to sports, for instance, I see and hear the news regarding Major League baseball. The owners have proposed a 76-game season that would give players 75 percent of their prorated salary for the 2020 season. They’d only receive 75 percent of those prorated salaries, however, under playoff bonuses.
To which Philadelphia Philly – and longtime Pittsburgh Pirate – Andrew McCutchen responded: Lol.
The NFL, meanwhile, has floated the idea of opening training camps in mid-July, about two weeks ahead of the traditional report date.
That’s along the same lines as college football. In the NFL, coaches and employees have started returing to their offices. Protocols have been spelled out to each team about welcoming the players back for official football activities.
Then, today, Monday, the West Virginia SSAC cut loose of a message via Twitter. It had guidelines for its “Phase 1, Weeks 1 and 2: Conditioning, Strength Training and Agility” for student-athletes with recommended dates of June 8-19.
It spelled out that outdoors facilities only be used. That there would be the use of “pods” of 10 or less with names recorded and reported. That no sport specific activities or equipment be allowed. That there would be no sharing of water bottles. That disinfectants and hand sanitizers would be on site. And, of course, that students with Covid-19 symptoms must stay home.
With all that swirling, however, I had two quiet, nice moments in regard to sports over the last few days.
One was just this morning, as I let our dog out, and looked over behind John Marshall High’s school.
There, I saw some of the aforementioned high school athletes, indeed training. They were at the essence of it all, exercising, feeling sunshine, getting their shoes wet with newly cut grass, preparing for competition. And I smiled.
Then, I attended a weekend celebration for my parents’ 61st anniversary and my mother’s 82nd birthday. (We are blessed, yes.)
Among those gathered was my nephew Weston. I’d seen on Facebook before the party that he was able to participate in a baseball scrimmage over the weekend.
I asked him about being able to do so.
The grin on his face was priceless. He beamed because of his love of sports.
For that moment, the world stopped swirling. My mind quieted. I revisited what sports are all about.
It’s about that joy of the sport itself.
I pray no other generation has to deal with a pandemic. I pray no other generation has to deal with social injustice. I may not be able to help with the former, but I can try to help with the latter.
My wish is for those in the very near future to look back and simply remember throwing that two-hitter in baseball or softball.
I want them to fondly remember finishing off a tennis match with an ace. Or coming off the bench in a basketball game and scoring 10 points. Or, heck, only scoring two in the entire season, but being part of the team and, hey, wasn’t that jumper from the elbow something special?
That’s my wish for the nearly 30 million children and adolescents that participate across the United States in youth sports from here on.
Stay safe. Yet stay active. You’ll feel better. Your bodies will be better.
And hopefully, if enough people work on the other issues, if we all come together, you can simply remember hitting that jumper from the elbow.
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Mitch Vingle covered sports in West Virginia for 38 years. Follow Mitch on Twitter at @MitchVingle and be sure to check out the rest of Wheelhouse Creative’s website for your marketing and advertising needs. If interested, call us at 304-905-6005.