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COLUMNS

Commentary: There are no do-overs in real life

Steve King
Suburbanite correspondent
Steve King

When kids play games and a situation comes up that can’t really be settled any other way, there’s a do-over.

That is, the move is done over, played over.

Everyone is satisfied. They feel as if the settlement is fair, whether it ends up working out in their favor or not.

In college sports, there is also a do-over of sorts with the redshirting of players if they get hurt and can’t continue playing for rest of the season, or if they get buried on the bench behind better players and are never going to see the light of day for the rest of the season. They just take the rest of the year off and so their freshman, sophomore, junior or senior seasons are over.

But in real life, there are no do-overs. You don’t get back what is already past.

And we’re learning that hard lesson with this deadly, pesky, unyielding coronavirus.

COVID-19 is just about undefeated – it has almost a perfect record – in that it has wiped out nearly everything in its path the last 4½ months. From festivals, parades, carnivals, car shows, sports leagues, fireworks displays and all the rest, they have had to been canceled, or at least moved, because of safety concerns.

In the Midwest, where the winters are way too long and the summers are way too short, all the things that define these warm-weather months – all the mile posts that mark the way from Memorial Day to Labor Day – have been lost, plowed under by the coronavirus.

It is, to be sure, the summer of nothing. Come on in and have a seat, ladies and gentlemen, and check out the big blank screen, the darkened stage, the lack of any sounds or movement, the lack of anything entertaining or worthwhile going on.

A young man in his late 20s, an entrepreneur with all kinds of things and businesses and ideas going on, stood in front of me, hands on hips, looking down with a troubled look on his face, and tried to make sense of it all.

“It’s a lost summer. It really is. And I just can’t believe it,” he said quietly but at the same time with measured authority.

“There is nothing much going on in my professional life. I had all this planned, but it’s on hold. When it comes back – or if it ever comes back – is anyone’s guess.

“The worst part is that I don’t get any of this time back. We can’t push ‘pause’ and then hit ‘reset’ to start again. It’s just lost. It doesn’t seem fair, but that’s the way it is. There’s nothing I can do about it.”

Indeed, there are do-overs in real life.

A friend was at a doctor’s appointment when her daughter, who was expecting to go into labor at any time, called to say that that time had arrived. Her husband rushed her to the hospital, which was located right next to the building where her mom’s doctor was located.

“I looked out the window at the hospital and cried,” the woman. “The birth of a grandchild is a seminal moment in your life, so, of course, I wanted to be there. But I couldn’t. Because of the COVID-19, there are no visitors. So here I was so close, yet so far away. It felt miserable.”

Again, there are no do-overs in real life.

And so, in full recognition of that but feeling helpless to change it, we all continue to march into the great unknown, wondering what’s next.