All right, let’s see a show of hands. After months of trying to adjust to the new normal of social distancing, wearing face masks, and whatever dispute has you riled up on Facebook, seeing kids back on the field playing baseball has you feeling like it’s Christmas morning doesn’t it?
We are living in unprecedented times. The reality of it hit the sports world hard in March when the CIAC canceled high school winter tournaments. Professional and college sports quickly followed suit.
As spring approached, we held out hope that a sense of normality would return, and schools would reopen and the high school sports season would start up.
Staying home and social distancing took its toll. Beaches and parks closed. There was no baseball in sight — the mark that summer is upon us — and we continued to crave some sort of normalcy in our lives.
And then what seemed like out of the blue, it was announced that youth sports were given the OK to return as part of the state’s second reopening phase.
Quickly leagues organized plans to get back up and running. Excitement filled the air, and for a brief moment a bit of normalcy broke through the cloud of quarantine.
On July 7, I stood next to the dugout at Rotary Field in Naugatuck taking photos and chatting with players as Naugy took on Oakville in a Connecticut Elite Baseball Association game.
Everything seemed right in the world. Baseball was back, and with it came a little less insanity and more stability.
There is just something about the sound of a baseball slapping against the leather of a glove. It is a sound of summer, and one that brings a smile to the face of youngsters, fans and coaches alike.
After four months of being isolated, the sound is a little louder than you remember. The dugout chatter is a little livelier. On July 11, I was there for opening day at Peter J. Foley and Union City little leagues, and the smiles on the faces of the youngsters were enough to melt your heart.
We have a long way to go to heal the physical and emotional wounds of our world today. Our landscape has changed beyond recognition.
But, it’s safe to say, that we have arrived at a place where it can start. Baseball is back. No matter how much things have changed, the game has a way of making things all right in the world.