Hard as it may be to imagine, I used to be pretty active in sports. Believe it or not, basketball was my main one (I was short but I was quick and it wasn’t a time when they were still shooting underhand…remember that?). I also played baseball, second base, and a lot of tennis, and a little golf. One of the constant refrains in my sports life was the admonition to keep my eye on the ball. Whenever I missed a pass in basketball, the coach would say that I should keep my eye on the ball. If a grounder got past second base, I knew I’d hear, “got to keep your eye on the ball.” Got aced in tennis, I knew it was because I hadn’t kept my eye on the ball. Needed a mulligan in golf, same message. Well, I belabor the metaphor. We’re in a stage of enduring this pandemic when it’s essential that we keep our eye on the ball. No time to be lax or forgetful about the tools at hand to help mitigate the risk: washing hands, wearing masks, watching our distance from one another. We need to keep our eye on the ball…being and staying well and safe.
I believe it was during the Clinton presidency that the movie Wag the Dog was released. It’s been revisited as apropos for probably every presidential administration since. The not too novel idea is that diversions of one sort or another steal our attention from one thing to attend to something that distracts. It’s taking our eye off the ball that’s at risk. The trouble I have is that we are dealing with so many balls in the air at the same time; and more just keep coming. The international geo-political crises, national democratic processes in a forthcoming election, pandemic health issues, personal issues of health and well-being, our kids and grandkids in school are legitimate balls in the air on which we should be keeping an undistracted eye. Not sure how to do it, other than being self-aware and really focused on what’s good in service to our enlightened self-interest. It really is important that we keep our eye on the metaphorical ball that is our self.
Truly to take care of one’s self through a healthy lifestyle by employing whatever variety of activities and engagements that attract us is crucial. Paul Prudhomme used to use the phrase, “Good cooking, good eating, good loving” to keep his eye on the ball. Perhaps each of us during this long siege of many balls in the air can find a balance to focus on our well-being with some joy and laughter helping us to keep our eye on the ball.