On most Major League Baseball Opening Days, I play hooky and watch the Cubs. But on this Opening Day, there is no game to watch and nothing to play hooky from.
Opening Day’s significance lies in the sense of hope it provides. After all, it is the one day that the Cubs are guaranteed to be tied for first place.
More broadly, in terms of hope, Opening Day symbolizes springtime, rescue and renewal from the depths of winter, reward for the faith that hope engenders. Opening Day is another expression of the metaphor contained within Easter and Passover.
On most other Opening Days, we congregate at Clark and Addison, pressed body on body, inching our way toward the gates. Then we enter to the familiar, the sound of the same program hawker forever, the smells of popcorn and beer.
As we rise, walking the steps and ramps, we catch a glimpse of the field and our hearts race. Then, emerging from the tunnel that leads to our aisle, we see a sea of green.
Each shade is different, the ancient scoreboard pale and washed out compared with the rich outfield grass and the deep forest tint of the seats. All those greens mean hope. Even the missing green, the not-yet-grown-in ivy, signals hope because we know those leaves will return soon.
Even with so much hope wrapped up in Opening Day, the loss of today’s occasion to the Coronavirus crisis is no cause for despair. Coming of age and becoming a Cubs fan in the last years of Ernie Banks’ career, I was inspired by his famous, “Let’s play two.”
Enduring some of the worst seasons in baseball history, Mr. Cub still wanting to play two was a clear call to look on the bright side. Cubs fans are optimists. Although Opening Day won’t happen today, it will someday.
Series starts at Coronavirus Diary: Introduction