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Jan. 26, 2021 | Tuesday
Editorials and Opinions
Retirement Coach: Happiness suggestions during the pandemic
Retirement Coach with Mike Keenan.

Mike Keenan 
Special to The Lake Report

For seniors suffering from the nagging effects of long-term incarceration inflicted upon us like punishment for white-collar criminals such as Conrad Black … oops, sorry, make that Lord Black of Crossharbour, (we must maintain imagined dignity) pardoned by Donald “bone-spurs” Trump after writing a glowing biography of the president, I have a suggestion to boost your spirits.

No, not single-malt scotch, but that helps. Rather, it’s sports.

I’m pleased that all of the major professional leagues and teams have invented ways to work in a bubble, or not, to provide us, the viewing public, with much-needed diversion.

We should all watch sports because of the way they celebrate, good cheer spilling from the diamond, rink, court or field into our living rooms.

It’s not only sports’ reckless revelries, but the fashion in which they celebrate that warms the cockles of my heart. To illustrate, I will start at the bottom and work my way upward to the pinnacle of merriment.

First, basketball. Where else can you watch 6 foot 8 guys jump for joy after sinking a three-point shot or making a forceful dunk, the ball jammed through the net? Maybe African Maasai hunters get as excited when they kill a lion, but we are not usually privy to that. Basketball allows big men to act like little boys.

Next, hockey. To celebrate anything on the ice is not easy to begin with, but goal scorers enact a signature move, sometimes parodying a duck or a chicken and then skate by the bench for glove-to-glove congrats with teammates. In the old days when I played hockey, we tussled one’s hair, but helmets have ended that ritual. We are stuck with the fleeting leather embrace.

Moving up in Maslow’s hierarchy of happiness, we next encounter football players, who exhibit a variety of unique moves after scoring a touchdown in the opponent’s end zone. (Wouldn’t “The End Zone” make a great title for a Stephen King novel?)

First, we have tight ends and flankers who catch the ball and offer ho-hum spikes of the ball like they are saying – “I’m good. What did you expect?”

But then there are running backs, who work harder, smashing through multiple tacklers, following blockers to the promised land. When they arrive, they produce choreography worthy of the National Ballet.

And they involve their teammates, especially those big bruiser linemen who weigh in at 300 pounds or more but can outrun a horse for 40 yards. You witness impressive moves that you can relate to your grandchildren if you can get them momentarily off of their social media.

We arrive at the pinnacle of sports happiness, baseball. In baseball, you get congratulated for pretty much everything you do, even when you fly out or ground out as long, as you advance a runner.

The batter trots back to the dugout, head held high and receives high-fives from everyone – the players, six coaches, two trainers, the batboy, a cop and the janitor – everybody!

A home run is grounds for joyous pandemonium. All of the runners on base and the batter in the on-deck circle wait patiently for the hitter to navigate the bases to give him a warm welcome home, and they parade the batter over to the dugout where it’s a repetition of the fly-out procedure, except more animated as players move through various greeting rituals that make family reunion participants jealous.

Now, wouldn’t it be wonderful if municipal councils established dugouts throughout towns such that a plumber might get high-fives from a group of pleased citizens or a doctor or … you get the picture. We would all feel needed and content.

I suppose that’s why many attend church. Imagine the results if, after confession, telling your sins to the priest, you emerged to receive from parishioners the same sort reception that Vladimir Guerrero gets when he belts a homer.

Wow. I think attendance would perk up and we might see more young people for a change.

Yes, I have purposely omitted soccer. What’s the point of sliding on your knees and tearing off your jersey? It did get interesting when a young and robust female American soccer player did it in the Olympics, but don’t forget, the original Greek athletes competed in the nude!

Mike Keenan belongs to the NOTL Writers’ Circle. Follow his podcasts: The Retirement Coach: and Travel: His book, Don’t Ever Quit: a Journal of Coping with Crisis & Nourishing Spirit, is available in in print & electronic format at Amazon.