Wednesday , April 17 2024

March Sadness – How Much More Can We Take?

In these waning days of March 2021, I have been inflicted with a deep and abiding March sadness. As someone who usually is a positive person, I feel overwhelmed by negativity. The things that should cheer me up – NCAA March Madness, Mets baseball, spring break, vaccinations, and a turn toward warmer weather – do nothing but make me sadder. I don’t want to feel this way, but there seems to be nothing I can do to feel more optimistic.

I usually look forward to March college basketball and seeing what teams make the Sweet 16, but now the joy is gone for me. Where is the music of cheering fans in the stands? Where are the cheerleaders? Also, knowing that the players and coaches are isolated from family and friends puts a damper on it for me. Basketball in this NCAA bubble is just not the same.

As for MLB spring training games, I’ve tried watching them, but I’m having a similar problem I had with basketball. Cardboard cutouts dominate the stands with only a few real people sprinkled here and there in the seats. I have watched a few games but – just like last summer’s 60-game season – I ended up feeling more depressed. With an impending opening day coming up next week for the regular season, I have no desire to go see some games. The capacity is set at 20% for Citi Field, so I don’t know how much fun that is going to be, and then I’d have to end up sitting next some cutout. Ugh!

Spring break was taken away from so many people this March – including yours truly – and yet when I watch the news, I see all these people in Florida celebrating mask-less on the beaches. Obviously, some schools gave the students time off. There are hordes of them running amok and gallivanting in the streets and filling restaurants and bars to the brim, and up here we’re still walking around the chilly streets in New York wearing these frigging masks. Talk about depressing!

We will soon turn the calendar page to April. With Passover beginning tonight and Easter fast approaching, I grit my teeth and wait to hear the warnings not to gather in large groups. This will be the second year of missing holiday gatherings with loved ones – some of whom are old enough to worry about not being here for the next Passover or Easter. How much more can we take of this?

I’ve heard it said that even after we get the COVID-19 vaccination that we should still wear a mask. There have been warnings that you could get COVID a second time, and the situation will not get better anytime soon. I have even heard that we won’t be able to fully celebrate Fourth of July this year. Thinking about all these things, I looked in the mirror and stuck my tongue out like Albert Einstein in that famous photograph of him taken on his 72nd birthday when he had had enough of the paparazzi stalking him. Like old Albert, I’ve had enough too.

If the warmer weather is not something to look forward to, what do we have left? Anyone who wants to travel outside of the U.S. is out of luck – unless they are willing to face tough quarantine rules when they arrive overseas. Traveling domestically is an option, but states have different rules too, which makes it annoying and frustrating to even contemplate taking a trip.

My March sadness will not go away anytime soon – unless I wake up tomorrow and everything is open, masks are tossed away, and I can go “buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks” with 40,000 fellow fans at the old ball game. But I know that’s not happening, so my sadness will linger. It will push into April and probably beyond.

In April 2020, we didn’t know what to expect. We were naïve and thought things would be over sooner rather than later, but 2021 is different. We know what to expect – more of the same – and that grim reality hits me like an emotional sledgehammer.

More of the same? The same lockdowns, shutdowns, and social distancing. Limited capacity. COVID restrictions. Masks! Masks! Masks!

How could anyone not be feeling March sadness?    

About Victor Lana

Victor Lana's stories, articles, and poems have been published in literary magazines and online. His new novel, 'Unicorn: A Love Story,' is available as an e-book and in print.

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