For 27 years, you could reliably find me every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 a.m. playing pickup basketball at my local middle school gym. In fact, for the past 15 years, I've been the one in charge. Well, "in charge" makes it sound more impressive than it really is. Mostly I just bring basketballs, open the doors, and have a general awareness of where the defibrillator is.
Of course there has been no morning basketball since March 11 of last year. And I've missed it. Really, really missed it. I love playing basketball. I've made a lot of friends, and it has always made me feel part of my community. I even miss the ritual of getting out of bed at oh-dark-thirty and lacing up the smelly ankle braces.
It's been physically tough on me not being able to play. (Just can't burn the same amount of calories on a stationary bike.) And it has been tough mentally. I'm of a certain age where I wonder if I can (or even should) rev up the ol' joints and hamstrings when we're allowed to play again. Have I missed out on my last year of semi-competitive basketball?
So I don't think I'm talking out of turn when I say that I can relate to those high school athletes, coaches, and parents who are upset about having to delay the start of their games and competitions again. I've read and heard many of their efforts to convince Governor Gretchen Whitmer and health officials to change their minds. They make some great points. Some are slightly over the line of civil discourse, but I get it — this is having a huge impact on their lives.
But for the rest of us, I think the challenge is to avoid blowing right past that line and personalizing this. If you don't like Governor Whitmer, then go ahead and don't like her. But she isn't singling you out in the hopes of ruining your life. She just isn't. Don't let yourself fall into that hate trap. Let's see if we can learn at least one lesson from the debacle of January 6th.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go down in my basement and work off some of this angst on my boring stationary bike.
John Auchter is a freelance political cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management, or its license holder, the University of Michigan.