My Beep Baseball Fantasy, Just Play Ball

by Kevin Burton

   My beep baseball fantasy has finally shifted from pulling big upsets over better teams, away from wins and losses altogether.

    Shocking, I know.

    My beep baseball fantasy has no coronavirus in it. That’s how you can tell it is pure fantasy.

   On Facebook, there are loads of comments about what people will do when the virus is “over.” This despite the fact that it probably will never be over.

   I read about restaurants and bowling, family gatherings, even feeling free to hug people.

    For me? If we somehow could make the virus go “poof” and go back to life as we knew it, I can think of no better way to celebrate than to play a little beep baseball. Maybe just a little, but wouldn’t that hit the sweet spot right about now?

   I have not swung a bat in a game since 2014 and appeared in just three as a pitcher in 2015.

   But right now, that sun screen I had to use to survive doesn’t seem as slimy. In fact it smells like freedom.

   Wait a minute, this is a fantasy, so I don’t need sunscreen.

   How about putting on a blindfold instead of a mask, wouldn’t that be way beyond delicious? Plus all the other quiet joys.

    To show up (on time) to practice. To stretch these old muscles until they warm to the idea. To breathe deep, free and easy under God’s vast sky. To worry about bees instead of invisible death in the wind.

    To sprint 100 feet for the glory of scoring a run and saying I did it. To touch the grass with my bare hands and crawl around like a little boy.

   To hear the chatter of team mates, TV shows I’ve never heard of, wrestling, just whatever. The sillier the better.

   I didn’t take these things for granted in the old days. But I never thought a simple practice would seem so glorious. Beepball, in this moment, symbolizes happier times for me.

   So why is this beepball picture relegated to the plane of fantasy?  I learned last week that at least a handful of people are practicing.  Why not just go out and mine the sunshine?

   Well I am of the opinion that it is still not safe, or not guaranteed safe. Favorite pastimes, for me, are going to wait a bit.

   Ever hear someone raving about a restaurant or a cook?  “Oh it’s the steak to die for!” 

   That was never meant to be taken literally, but maybe it should be in these virus times. I have food at home.  I love going to restaurants, but not with the virus raging.

   My church will open its doors to worshippers June 7, about three months after going to online-only services. I am planning to continue attending via computer.

   If I go to church my attention will be divided between the message and making sure nobody violated my social distancing space. Not worth it.

   My hair stylist called about ten days ago asking if I wanted an appointment. That one is also a “not yet.”

   I wear a ball cap wherever I go now partly so people won’t see how bad my hair looks, partly so that birds won’t get any ideas about that perfect nest, already built.

   Fantasy, beepball or otherwise, is an island to visit, not a destination at which to linger. Tomorrow the governing body of beep baseball will face the hard facts concerning the virus and decide whether to hold the 2020 World Series.

   The carnage and heartbreak left by the virus is difficult to measure. The sorrow like the virus itself, is likely to come in waves. The interruptions to beep baseball, the ones already suffered and possible ones to come, represent just one of the pictures we will never forget.

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