Evanson: Taking the good with the bad
May you live in interesting times.
It's a phrase alleged to be of Chinese origin, but in fact has no legitimate connection. It's used primarily in an ironical sense, for it's purported to be a blessing, while in fact it is a curse, with the clear implication that uninteresting times are typically defined by peace and/or tranquility.
I learned that by means of a simple Google search, but first became aware of the saying from a 1994 movie by the name of "Disclosure," starring Demi Moore and Michael Douglas.
I of course wish no such thing on any of you, but from a literal sense, these are, in fact, interesting times.
No restaurants. No bars. Very few retail establishments. No schools, and of course no sports, which is why I, like the bulk of my PMG sports colleagues, am addressing you today for — potentially — the last time.
COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the world as we know it. People are suffering as the result of the coronavirus, and it's become our job to limit the damage it can and already has caused many Americans, along with countless others spanning the globe. It's killed thousands, infected hundreds of thousands, and turned millions more lives upside down by means of an economic upheaval no one saw coming before this pandemic took hold.
We are all, to some extent, casualties of the disease, while at the same time fighting tooth and nail against the further damage it's still capable of inflicting.
I lost my job last week, along with more than 10 million others who've suffered a similar fate over the past month. And that sucks. There's no two ways about it. But while I am one of the many indirect victims of COVID-19, I will not succumb to the soul-sucking sadness so many seem so eager to embrace.
Life will go on, and in fact it is doing so despite the abnormalities of our once "normal" existence.
As I type this I'm looking out my front window and I see kids riding scooters, adults jogging and walking dogs, and most importantly, people of all shapes and sizes smiling. The sun is out, trees and flowers are blooming, and I'm sipping an adult beverage with a little Wynton Marsalis playing by way of my television, compliments of a little thing we call Pandora. Things are unquestionably far from perfect, but I assure you they could be a whole lot worse. They always can.
I love sports, and I do and will continue to miss them until they return sometime in the not-so-far-off future. In fact, this was supposed to be Masters Week, a seven-day span beginning with 'round-the-clock coverage consisting of press conferences, practice rounds and historical stories leading up to the event, and ending with a hokey green jacket ceremony that even true fans of the game only begrudgingly enjoy. It's my favorite week of the year, and it — like everything else — is on hold. But while it's just another of what seem like constant reminders of what "isn't" during this tumultuous time, I choose to focus on what "is" as a means of my and everyone else's well-being.
We're all hurting — some more than others, but each and every one of us has been forced to navigate a road never before travelled in our lifetimes, and for the most part without the tools typically provided us as a means of distraction, like sports.
Without a baseball game, NBA playoff contest, or nightly show like "Live From" or "SportsCenter," or any of the other countless sports options typically available to us at the tail end of a trying day, we have to look elsewhere for the ounce of positivity we all need to combat the tons of negativity engulfing our world. But we have to do it, and it's OK. It really is.
These are sad times, but it isn't wrong to be happy. In fact, it's never been more right.
When sick, one doesn't willingly get sicker. We instead fight that illness with rest, healthy food and drink, along with anything else at our disposal in an effort to get better. So why wouldn't we do the same in trying times?
I recommend making the most of this time of isolation. Eat better; exercise; read that book you've been wanting to read; learn a language; take up painting; and more than anything, appreciate all of the things you've unwittingly taken for granted. Which is why I'm taking this opportunity to thank those responsible for making these last four years so special to me.
As a local sports reporter, I infrequently cover those at the top of our various games but rather spend the bulk of my time with those at the root of them. And as the result, I'm reminded that it's the ingredients that make the cake great, opposed to the cake itself.
Forest Grove High School athletic director Doug Thompson once told me what his Vikings predecessor, Jeff Basinski, once told him: This job is all about the kids. Doug took that to heart, and so did I.
I always considered the kids when using a quote, when reporting a pivotal — but potentially embarrassing — moment in a game, when history would remember a specific game or play, and especially when doing a feature. I wanted to celebrate the community rather than tear it down, and I believe that started with the very kids I reported on.
As I leave you today, it's with the full understanding that I may be back, but also with an equal understanding that I may not. So as I go, I offer a sincere thank you to the school administrators I worked with, the many parents who repeatedly acknowledged — for good and bad — my work, and most importantly the countless kids who provided me the equally countless memories, in the wake of creating their own.
These may be interesting times, and there are better ones on the way. But I enjoyed the ones that came before them, and I have all of you to thank for that.
Wade Evanson was sports editor of the News-Times since 2016.
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