Happiness filled Wrigley Field.
It rang out in laughter, in chatter, in cheers. It reverberated in the organ music, in the shout of the hotdog man, in the crack of the bat. You could see it in the steps of the grounds keepers as they raked the baselines. You could feel it in the flap of the flags lining the ballpark. But most of all you could sense it even behind our masked faces. We were all smiling.
And even though there were only 10,000 of us instead of the usual crowd of 40,000, happiness radiated everywhere. We were back.
This was my first public outing in over a year, and what better place to start than a Cubs Game.
“We’re so glad you’re here!” greeted all the ushers as they directed us to spaced out seats scattered throughout the stadium. I felt perfectly safe with all the seats roped off around us and a strict Cubs usher making sure everyone kept their mask on unless eating or drinking.
At first, having been isolated for so very long, being around that many people felt really weird. And yet, even outside the ballpark most everyone was wearing a mask and keeping a safe distance from each other. Proper respect for the coronavirus was well displayed.
Best of all, the peanuts were fresh, the ballpark hotdog just what I’d dreamt about all these pandemic months, and when young and old rose and sang at the seventh inning stretch with jubilant gusto, it felt like the World Series. Oh, the freedom of it all!
So team, let’s keep the games rolling. Mask up. Keep the distance. Get the vaccine. We can win this if we play ball together.
WRIGLEY FIELD PHOTO CREDIT: HEATHER MAGUIRE UNSPLASH