eing a parent is a hard job. Don’t let anyone tell you different. From the early days of having a baby at home comes the nagging worry between preparing your youngling for the outside world and coddling that child too much. From the first cries when you set that baby down, it begins. And it only grows louder as they get older and head out on their own. The first day you leave them at preschool. The first day they leave you on their bike to go to the end of the street. The first day they head off for college.
But the toughest part of the job is not hoping you’ve built them up enough, the hardest job is telling them no. There’s a ton of reasons to say no to a kid – to discipline, to correct, and to withhold. It is HARD. I remember those nights where we were trying to train our son to sleep in his bed, hearing him wail for hours. The pain and self-doubt that fills a parent’s mind. But no. The kid needs to learn to sleep in his own bed, and, eventually, he did. But don’t let anyone tell you it’s easy.
America is undergoing some parenting challenges right now. Health experts have asked us to withhold going out. They’ve asked us to self-discipline by wearing masks to protect others, and they’ve also recommended that sports stop starting back in March. Sports is as fundamental to the fiber of this country as the 5:00 Budweiser and arguing on Twitter. And the past four months were meant to not only provide safety to the players, but also to provide the country an opportunity to get a handle on the pandemic. COVID-19 has told sports fans “no.” Or, rather, “not until I go away.”
Yes, I realize that in this metaphor, COVID-19 is the parent. Just indulge me a bit. We were given a chance back in March to listen to experts. We had a chance to limit going out to public places, change our behaviors like getting food delivered and limiting contact with folks outside our “bubbles.” We were even given a chance to protect others by wearing a mask when we did have to go out for essentials. However, like a spoiled petulant child, America focused on anything but those things. Beaches and bars were packed. YouTube videos of whiny dad’s at Costco complaining about wearing a mask went as viral as the virus they were spreading. America just decided to ignore the “no” and go right on through with starting sports back up even in the face of climbing infection rates and dwindling hospital beds. This is all in the shadow of other countries who were able to handle these suggestions and have seen lowering infection rates.
The hardest thing to do as a parent is say “no.” Sending a kid to bed without video game time. Taking away the car keys when he gets a speeding ticket. Listening to a kid wail for hours when it’s past their bedtime rather than go in and give the kid what she wants.
America has done next to nothing to stem the tide of the coronavirus. If America were a six year old, it would be going to bed without dessert. And yet, dessert is coming back in the form of Major League Soccer, Hockey, Baseball, and, eventually, football. Not because we’ve deserved it or worked for it, but because America wants dessert and knows how to throw a tantrum when it doesn’t get one.
I want baseball to start back up as much as the next person – probably more than you know. But it’s got to be in a safe environment. If fans can’t be admitted to the games, what about that screams this is a safe environment? The whole situation is incredible and certainly wouldn’t pass any sort of parenting journal.
Even though it may kill us, let’s all sit down for another helping of dessert – no matter how loudly the toddler is screaming in the background.
(Get baseball takes and more from Chris Kamler on Twitter where he is known as @TheFakeNed and whenever Landmark Live is on at plattecountylandmark.com)