After two months of our pandemic lifestyle, I still find that most conversations – whether with work colleagues or friends – include some commentary on our “new normal.” I suppose this reflects the depth of our surprise, and perhaps that the answers are still unclear. The most consistent observation I’ve heard is that we’re living more slowly. And this moderated pace means we’re more observant. For example, I’d say this is the first year I’ve fully appreciated spring.
Over the past month, Boston’s cityscape has been magically transformed by blossoming trees. Some neighborhoods have symmetrical awnings of magnolias, while others are dotted with various flowering species. In prior seasons, I considered spring meant renewing visits to Fenway Park, running outdoors with fewer layers and the start of the grilling season. Walking around to look at blossoming trees was not on my “to-do” list. These days, however, I’ve been grateful for this gift of nature that I suspect you’ve also enjoyed in recent weeks.
So let’s heed the benefits of living slowly and taking in all that’s around us. Those ballparks will be waiting for us next spring!
Hard to believe, but today begins week five of sheltering in place. I am settled into my home office although my desk feels cramped and it’s awfully quiet. We live in the city, so I normally walk to work and have made it a point to reminiscently take a walk once I wrap-up my WFH workday. There are few pedestrians, which has provided an opportunity to actually look at Boston’s architecture with an unobstructed perspective. And of course, this time of year, those early evening walks are rewarded with gorgeous lighting so the views have been stunning.
I share this just to say remember to take a look around and see what’s always been in front of you, but perhaps with a clearer view. There is a lot to be grateful for and appreciate during these daunting times — and your mobile phone make it easy to memorialize. I look forward to my walk tomorrow evening, and hope you enjoy yours as well. (Boston’s Public Library is pictured below taken from Copley Square.)
On Friday, June 23, I was fortunate to be among the Red Sox faithful who witnessed the retirement of David Ortiz’s uniform number. Fondly known as “Big Papi,” this larger-than-life star athlete was everything a fan could wish for: clutch player, fun-loving and through it all, remained humble and kind. David is yet another product of the Dominican Republic’s player talent pool and throughout his career, never forgot his homeland. Given my similar roots, I have always favored players from the DR, and of course, particularly those who help keep the home team atop the standings and in championship contention.
Baseball is all about patience and tradition. It takes hours to complete a nine-inning game and more than half a year to proceed from spring training through a World Series. Yet, the rewards for fans are short-lived; we get excited about a win but there’s usually another game within 24 hours. And championships certainly earn bragging rights, but again, they tend to be more impactful in that moment.
That fragile experience is exactly why players like Ortiz are special. Every time they step into the batter’s box, you anticipate a little magic. And quite often, they make the impossible happen. When they’re pushed into the limelight, they instinctually know exactly what to do. What Red Sox fan doesn’t have a mental image of Big Papi’s famous bear hugs or his emotional ballpark comments following the Boston Marathon bombing?
The David Ortiz experience came to an emotional climax last month when friends, family and fans gathered at Fenway to pay tribute to our local hero. The number 34 was ceremonially unveiled above right field, joining nine previous Red Sox and Jackie Robinson as eternal legacies. Several honored guests were invited to offer tributes including former teammates and fellow legends. The comments were festive but perhaps none more heartfelt than second baseman Dustin Pedroia’s observation that what meant most to the team was the great love Big Papi always shared with everyone in the dugout. That simple statement came just before Ortiz spoke to the crowd—and brought tears to his eyes and to those of many throughout the ballpark.
Looking back, we’re forever grateful for the many baseball memories but as every member of Red Sox Nation knows, David Ortiz will continue making us proud for many years to come. Here’s to you, #34!