Lack of Distraction

Movie theatres aren’t open.

I know this is of the least amount of concern to anyone in the world right now. Nor should it be. I’ve spent the past week obsessed with the news and having lively Facebook discussions (some real—some imagined) with my fellow white people.

Any yet, somehow this morning after leaving CNN and waiting for Politico to fully load, it dawned upon me that the movie theatres are still closed. As are the theatres where I make my living. And sporting events. Have you looked at ESPN.com recently? It’s sad. Their lead story this morning was a guide to the 2020 Major League Baseball Draft. No one cares about the 2020 Major League Baseball Draft. I’m a huge sports fan, and I couldn’t even muster the energy for a simple sympathy click.

That’s when it dawned upon me that in addition to the movies being closed, there is no Minor League Baseball either. I knew there was no minor league baseball on an intellectual level, but today it hit me in the gut. Because Minor League baseball might be my favorite thing. It’s incredible. For eight dollars a person can still sit in the outfield of a professional sporting event and forget about regular life for a couple of hours. They can still revel in a level of absurdity that would have have made Samuel Beckett himself proud. Star Wars themed nights. Mascot races. Children dressed as Sumo Wrestlers fighting between innings. All washed down with Coca-Colas and styrofoam cups of boiled peanuts. Some of the greatest moments of my life have been spent in minor league baseball parks. I write that without an ounce of hyperbole.

There’s no basketball, either. That one hurt, because we should be deep into the playoffs right now. Deep into arguments over Kawhi Leonard and Lebron James. We should be sharing videos that show how annoying Max Kellerman is or those hilarious ones with baby Stephen A. Smith.

Or should we? Without these distractions I’ve been spending a lot of time meditating and trying to find the bright sides of the lock down. And there have been many bright sides. The extra time with Jaimie. Finding different nooks and crannies in my parents’ back yard. The beautiful Zoom hangouts with friends I haven’t spoken to in over a decade. In a delightful twist of irony, this virus has given us time.

So maybe it’s good that the movie theatres are closed and the games have stopped. Maybe it’s good that the brutal, heartless murder of George Floyd happened whilst everyone was watching. Maybe it’s good that Mr. Cooper had the cops called on him now instead of at a time when we were distracted by the theatrical release of "Minions: Rise of Gru.”

Because I feel focused now in a way I’ve never felt before. And while I don’t really believe that everything happens for a reason, I do believe that God can use anything FOR a reason. So maybe that’s why Minneapolis is on fire while Wonder Woman: 1984 is postponed. So that for once in our lives we might actually pay some Gosh Dern attention.

I know I am.

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