Thursday, December 24, 2020

It is a small sacrifice my son makes in the face of COVID-19, but I still feel for him

Once or twice a week, I see my son Jared meticulously going through his meal prep routine in our kitchen. This involves cooking copious amounts of chicken, rice, and vegetables, measuring out precise portions of each, and placing those portions in plastic containers for storage in our garage refrigerator.

He does this for two reasons that I know of:

(1) He is in ridiculously good shape and he wants to prolong this state of affairs through proper nutrition.

(2) To a very real extent, thanks to COVID-19, he doesn't have that much on his to-do list these days, so he can spend an hour or more on this ritual as needed.

Pre-pandemic, Jared was a crazy busy person. As a sports management major, he was picking up internships and professional experiences any place he could. He served as communications manager for the Mentor Ice Breakers pro hockey team at the ripe old age of 20. He was supposed to have spent this past summer in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, as the PR intern for the Eau Claire Express baseball team. He was also looking to catch on as an intern with one of the big three pro sports teams here in Cleveland.

But COVID scrapped those plans thoroughly. The Ice Breakers franchise has folded, the Express didn't have a season, and right now it's pretty difficult for Jared or anyone else to get internships with pro teams experiencing delayed, reduced, or even non-existent seasons.

Jared has maintained a job with a moving company throughout the pandemic, and he does have online college classes. For the most part, though, he is a man who has been stripped of his purpose.

As I've noted before, this is of course a very first-world problem. Some people are fighting for their lives, or in the case of our health care workers, trying to help others save theirs. Some are without an income and struggling just to get by.

Jared's sacrifice is very minimal in comparison, but he was on such a roll that I hate to see it come to a crashing halt like this.

It will all eventually fade away, I know, and Jared will be free again to work toward his goal of becoming a college/university sports information director. This is a job that requires lots of hours and crazy hard work sometimes, but I don't worry when it comes to Jared. He'll do whatever is required.

In the meantime, he makes his meals. He works out. He does his school work. He occasionally goes out and helps rich people move. And he waits.

Like all of us, he waits.

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