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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Missing a Long Cincinnati Tradition Today

Sports to Return Eventually

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Luis Castillo (58) poses with Fort Thomas Matters sports reporter G. Michael Graham. Opening Day was postponed today because of the spread of Coronavirus.
By G. Michael Graham

For years, I have known about the great tradition in the Queen City.

A year ago, I did not go to the game. But I had the opportunity to be in downtown Cincinnati for Opening Day for the first time in my life and I've been a Reds fan for 42 years strong.

If you have not been in the heart of it, it's hard to understand. But I had never seen downtown as crowded full of fans donning the Red and White of the Cincinnati Reds. It also helped that the Reds beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-3 thanks mostly to a three-run home run from pinch-hitter Derek Dietrich.

Today, I miss it. I had my picture shown above taken with Reds ace pitcher Luis Castillo at Redsfest in December. I so thought I would see him pitch today.

But it is not happening thanks to Coronavirus Disease 2019, also known as COVID-19. As of right now, the season is not slated to open until mid-May. But we won't know for sure until closer to that time.

Opening Day is of course not the sporting event or item effected by this deadly disease. The boys basketball team of my high school alma mater in Rockford, Ohio in the Parkway Panthers advanced to the Division IV region championship game against undefeated Columbus Grove. The game will not be played leaving many to wonder what might have happened.

I am a huge National Hockey League fan. My favorite team in the Nashville Predators. They had won three games in a row before the season stopped including back-to-back shut-outs of the Central Division rival Dallas Stars, who eliminated them from the playoffs last year. They'd make the playoffs if the regular season ended today.

I am normally writing about the baseball, softball, tennis and track and field teams at Highlands at this time of the year. I had the interviews for the softball preview done weeks ago. Now we don't know if that preview will be finished and published.

My wife Katie and I have had to make adjustments in our work schedules. We are doing fine. I have been a life and health insurance agent mostly writing Medicare Supplements and Advantage plans since 2004. I wrote a supplement over the phone via electronic application for the first time ever Wednesday.

I'm thankful Kate and I have still been able to work. But I hate it for those who can not do it right now such as those who are waiters at restaurants.

I first wondered about COVID-19. I sometimes do Uber and Lyft rides around town. But on Jan. 25, I drove a Chinese student at Miami University (in Oxford, Ohio). He had on a mask.

I hoped it would not come to the United States. At that time, I definitely did not think it would spread the way it has. But this one does spread faster than the ones we've recently dealt with such as the Ebola virus.

In these last couple of weeks, I've no doubt had some frustrations. But I do want people safe. I have practiced social distancing as much as anyone.

I just keep reminding myself this will not last forever. In a matter of time, I'll be watching the Reds on television or at Great American Ballpark like I did six times last year. They went 4-2 in those games that included the 10-1 win over the Chicago Cubs when Rookie Outfielder Aristedes Aquino hit three home runs. I'll also soon be interviewing the great coaches and players at Highlands High School.

When the games start again and life returns to normal, I also hope we have a greater appreciation for life, especially being around our loved ones and friends. I've reached out to my immediate family more and Kate and I spent time at her grandmother's place in Walton yesterday among other things.

After all, the world could use a lot more love.

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