Nearly a year ago we booked our trip to the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox Spring Training in Fort Myers. On the heels our trip the previous year we were excited fly to the Sunshine State and enjoy a week of baseball!
As COVID-19 began to expand its place in our public consciousness and create anxiety in the hearts and minds of Americans, including parents with children, my wife and I had the conversation about whether we should fly or drive The Daughter and I to Fort Myers.
In the end, we made the decision to drive and avoid any unnecessary issues associated with being in large crowds, dealing with TSA security lines or being stuck on a plane with others who weren’t as focused on “social distancing” as we might have been.
My Daughter, Maisie, who serves as the Co-Captain of the http://www.therobettes.com Team at http://www.visitation.net School and I hurriedly jumped into our car at noon on Thursday, March 12th and pointed our car south.
Within an hour of our travels she received news from http://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc that her season was cancelled. Tears followed. After all, so much hard work and passion had gone into this season along with her peers and colleagues.
As Maisie is wont to do, she recovered and we continued our trek.
Barely an hour later we got the call — not Strike Three — but Strike Two — and it didn’t feel any better than being called out at the plate!
Spring Training was cancelled! And, the Major League Baseball Season’s Opening Day would be delayed.
More tears and sadness and despair!
We drove for a few more miles barely talking, with Dad asking a couple times if she had any thoughts about anything else we might do?
We had a hotel booked in Fort Myers — did we want to go there?
We quickly dismissed that idea as we really didn’t have any good idea of what else we might do for a week in Fort Myers that didn’t involve her passion of baseball.
Eventually, I pulled off the freeway and we chatted about our plans.
We decided to make lemonade from lemons and began to point the car to Cooperstown to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Not long after that Mom suggested we might want to look at visiting the Louisville Slugger Museum.
So, with a bit of review of the Google Maps App we re-routed to Louisville via Indianapolis.
We made memories on this trip. Maisie saw places of America she had never seen before, as did her Dad.
We also saw a lot of good about the America we live in today — even in the midst of what feels like the worst times we have faced in our country, and the world, for as long as any of us living can remember.
It feels like the worst times — I don’t know if it is the worst times.
Which doesn’t mean we shouldn’t prepare as thought it could be.
But, we should also remember who we are as Americans and a country.
It’s the people on Social Media who are offering to bring food to people — care for their children — run errands for people who need the help.
It’s the person at the Starbucks outside of Pittsburgh who jumped out of his car to let me know I hadn’t shut the door on my gas tank and gladly did it for me.
The two delightful ladies at the Derby Hat store in Louisville who shared The Daughter’s joy (and her father’s horror) at the boots that she tried on that went nearly up to her hips!
The woman managing the Cincinnati Reds Store who shared Maisie’s joy in talking about the prospect of creating positive change in fashion choices for women fans of Major League Baseball.
People who held open doors at Rest Stops — who smiled at the gas pump — who laughed at nearly any joke that sounded remotely fatalistic about the world we live in today.
I’m like every other Dad in America today with kids: I’ve got my fair share of anxiety.
But, like every other Dad in America my anxiety needs to take a backseat to the belief that no matter the rocky road we are on today the adults in the room have to make every effort to assure our kids that everything will be okay.
It will be. I don’t say that to make you or myself feel better.
I say that to make my kids feel better because I believe it to be true.
We got home last night shortly before midnight. It was a long 14 hour drive. A lot of that drive was spent inside my head.
It’s in my head how I ultimately decide to respond to a world that seems spinning out of control.
It’s in my heart how I decide to treat the human beings I come into contact each and everyday.
And it’s up to me to remember who I am as an American and if matters enough to make it matter more.