Game 6 of the World Series. This was gonna be it. The Dodgers were finally gonna win.
It was gonna be a good, fun baseball moment. Something to get my mind off the nightmare that is 2020.
I called a friend in the ninth just to talk through the last few outs and repeat “imagine trading Mookie Betts” because it’s fun to say that whenever Betts does something good. That quickly turned into abject horror when I yelled, “What the ****, Justin Turner got pulled because he tested positive for COVID-19?” shortly after the final out.
For the next hour and a half, I watched as answers started trickling out, and then more questions—when did the Dodgers know about Turner’s positive test? Why did he stay in for so long? How long was it before Turner knew?
And then, the most horrifying sight of all: Justin Turner on the field with the rest of the team. Turner taking a photo with the team and the trophy and taking off his mask.
My friend and I spent a good 20 minutes going back and forth just saying variations of “What the ****?”, “Who the **** let this happen?”, and “Get him off the ****ing field.”
I couldn’t say I was surprised. It’s 2020; nothing surprises me anymore.
But the feeling of disappointment and discomfort and anger stuck around.
If you don’t know this, I’m disabled and chronically ill. I’ve spent my whole life dealing with asthma. I was in a horrific car crash over the holidays last year that left me with a torn thoracic aorta, a collapsed lung, hemothorax, two simultaneous brain bleeds, and a lot of broken bones.
Recovery during a pandemic has already been difficult sometimes being unable to get the care I need.
Even more difficult is that because of all my respiratory problems, I am at high risk for complications if I contract COVID-19. Complications likely resulting in death.
I have already been intubated and on a ventilator because of all my injuries; contracting COVID-19 would likely just sentence me to the death I narrowly escaped last December.
This is the daily life I’ve had to deal with since the crash.
I sit in the middle of my living room, immobile and wheelchair-bound, watching the mess that is Major League Baseball on my TV. I’m merely days removed from my last surgery related to my numerous injuries.
I often say that you can’t just stick to sports. That sports mirror society. That hasn’t been truer in this moment where I see the horror of a society that fails to stay safe in the midst of a global pandemic being reflected on a baseball field.
No one seemed to object to Turner joining the celebration on the field. No one wanted to say it was a bad idea, just that a man should be able to enjoy and celebrate with his teammates.
Which, sure! First World Series championship in Los Angeles in 32 years—why wouldn’t someone want to celebrate it?
But a deadly virus and a person’s life should be more important than sports. It’s clear, though, that MLB doesn’t seem to think about it that way. Especially not with the pseudo-bubble they tried to create, which was also broken by having fans in the stands.
Nothing about this was safe or healthy.
Sitting in my living room in a wheelchair and high risk for death, I can’t help but think, “It must be nice to be able to just enjoy the moment without thinking about the possibility of dying.”
To have the ability to live life as typical and celebrate while knowingly being exposed to someone who tested positive for a deadly virus, if not being the person who tested positive for it? Wish I knew what that was like. Wish I didn’t fear dying every time I have to leave the house for a doctor’s appointment.
I spent this season wrestling with myself about watching it. I didn’t plan on it, but I did for my own mental health. I needed it to get through the days, but watching the game on the field always made me think about everything else surrounding it.
I’m fully aware a lot of society doesn’t think about this the way I do. People want to watch baseball. So do I.
But I also think about how I’m supposed to be walking again by now. How the week the pandemic shut down everything also shut down the physical therapy clinic I was supposed to go to to continue relearning to walk. How I shouldn’t have to prolong my recovery but I have to because no one is being safe about it.
I’m constantly angry, because society’s lack of responsibility is out of my control, but it affects me in the most negative way. My recovery was supposed to be two years long, but now it feels like two years plus however long since the pandemic hit the United States in March.
I watch the celebration on the field with no regard to the health and safety of those around them. It feels like watching society around me encapsulated on the field at Globe Life Field. It reminds me of the months I’ve lost in recovery, the ability to relearn to walk being robbed from me, all because we live in a society that values the bottom line more than a person’s life.
This celebration on the field just becomes another mirror to society, a society that has no regard to the health and safety of those around them, especially for those who are disabled, chronically ill, and high risk like me.
Thank you for reading
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