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Normal Again...For Now Thumbnail

Normal Again...For Now

I spent Father’s Day Weekend 2020 the same way I spent Father’s Day weekend 2019: coaching a team of young men on the baseball diamond. As we prepared over the last few weeks, it struck me at many points just how normal it all felt. Being out on the field teaching the game in the late spring is how I have spent a lot of time in the last 8 years. This year, however, normal feels strange and the unusual seems usual.

While things on the field felt normal, everything around the game was a reminder that life right now is anything but. The other coaches and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out things like can we provide water or Gatorade to our players and how do you try to keep 12 and 13-year old teammates socially distant? I will admit that the prohibition on sunflower seeds and bubble gum was probably tougher for me than the kids thanks to 30+ years of muscle memory.

The striking normality of it all was driven home after our game on Sunday. My family headed into Ada for post-game ice cream, where we had to order at a walk-up window instead of inside the store. Watching mask-wearing family after mask-wearing family enter the restaurant across the street for a nice Father’s Day meal was a constant reminder of just how much the world has changed in the last four months.

I think we as humans are pretty good at creating “normal” for ourselves. Sure, the first week or so of working from home felt strange, but soon enough it was routine to interrupt my workday to help with a math problem or try and quiet our noisy dog. When I started gradually returning to the office, that felt strange, even though I have been doing it nearly every day for the last 16 years.

Eventually, our world will settle into what has been dubbed “the new normal.” What and when that will be will depend on the scientific achievements to combat COVID-19 with a vaccine, a therapy, or ideally both. What I do know is that people will adapt quickly to the new way of life.

The investing world is currently trying to figure out which companies will be winners - and losers - in “the new normal” economy. Will Zoom become the standard for face-to-face meetings? If so, will I need to get a better lighting setup? Which company will make the first approved vaccine? Will anyone ever set foot on a cruise ship again?

I think that these unanswerable questions have contributed to the volatility thus far this year. Eventually, answers will be revealed and winners will be crowned. I will be among the countless thousands trying to stay educated as the situation develops while spending a lot of my nights and weekends teaching the finer points of the infield fly rule.