Making The Most Of The Opportunity

Ohio Stadium Olentangy River

You’ve probably heard the old idea that the word for “crisis” in Chinese is a combination of the symbols for “danger” and “opportunity.”

Much like a lot of what you’ve probably seen on the internet over the years, it really isn’t true.

The COVID-19 outbreak going on across the nation and the world this week pretty clearly fits the generally-accepted definition of a crisis.

Most of the talk, both here and the rest of the internet, has focused on what is being taken away: the NCAA Tournament, the College World Series, the Frozen Four, the Ohio State Spring Game, and on and on.

For fans, it’s going to be jarring to miss out on the familiar mid-March routines of filling out a bracket and slyly keeping an eye on the Thursday and Friday afternoon games while at the office.

It may go from feeling unfortunate to downright unfair for players who have been working years – if not close to their entire lives – for their One Shining Moment. Instead of buzzer-beaters, their season ended suddenly and unceremoniously, off the court.

The moment many of them have dreamed of since watching NCAA Tournament games as kids may now never come.

And the pain of those players, real as it is, will pale in comparison to the people who will lose loved ones to this virus in the coming days and weeks.

This isn’t great for anyone, but to one degree or another, we’re all in this together.

It hasn’t looked like that at times this week. As usual, one group on social media has taken one position on the dangers, while another has taken the opposite.

This is what we do now: watch our cable news channel or read our preferred websites and then go on Twitter and say people who watch that other channel are idiots.

Read the comments on basically any article this week. People can’t wait to tell you why it’s wrong and you’re stupid if you believe it.

Almost no one’s opinion ever seems to change, and nothing is accomplished.

You can view the cancellation of these events as a cruel disaster to your TV-watching schedule. You can spend your days arguing with people who watch that other channel who just don’t get it!

Or you can turn off the stupid TV for a while and go do something useful.

This is a Facebook post that showed up Thursday evening from someone I worked with more than a decade ago. There’s nothing outwardly remarkable about him. He just has some time available, recognizes that he’s not among the more vulnerable populations, and is offering to help those who are – whether he knows them or not.

You probably have elderly neighbors, or know people who have had health issues that could lead to complications if they contract the virus. Maybe you can help them like he is.

Perhaps you know a single parent of one of your kids’ friends who is going to have to figure out how to juggle work and taking care of their kid(s) while they’re out of school.

The next few weeks could create some financial hardships for small business owners or people who work in service industries (restaurants, barber shops, etc.). There’s a chance they’ll see their amount of business fall off a cliff as people stay home.

Some organizations are doing their part.

But there may be things you can do closer to home.

Some of the people who are struggling to make ends meet in even the best of times could have a particularly hard time now.

Maybe someone is just a little freaked out and needs to know that they’re not going through all this by themselves.

You don’t have to do everything, but maybe you can do something for someone else.

The next few weeks are going to be more than a little strange for most Americans.

No baseball, no spring football, no basketball, no hockey, no school… pretty much no anything. Most of us haven’t gone through anything remotely like this before.

But it’s possible to make this crisis into something else.

Check in on your neighbors. Give something to someone who can never pay you back. Find a way to support someone who really needs it right now.

Be smart about it, and follow the recommendations of health experts, but take this time and make the most of it.

An opportunity like this may only come along once in a lifetime.

8 Responses

  1. Thanks, Tony. You’re the man.

  2. Good job, sir. Sometimes, people get so caught up in their own worlds to the point of not seeing anything outside of their own little problems. To implant the idea of community service (NOT court ordered) to help others at this time is a great idea. Thanks.

  3. Tom. Freaking. Orr. Well done, my friend. Terrific message!

    1. true that-well said.
      being a very small business owner, the note about $0-int loans hits close to home. very nice thought-will pass it on to our sba lender!
      nice article in the genre of making lemonade out of lemons!

  4. Now I know why I recorded most of The Buckeye 2019 season. I can also watch Jeaux Burrow throttle Clemson again.

  5. GREAT ARTICLE, Tom. I agree wholeheartedly. Thank you for writing it.

  6. Thank you for sharing. The call to action is inspiring and I will do what I can – Buckeye Nation is more than sports to me and I plan to represent as such. GO BUCKS!

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