Lost and Found - A Covid Tale

As published in April '20 edition of the NEISMA Rink Rat

By: Jason Piche

In our industry we often have a huge lost and found bin. Equipment left behind, sweatshirts forgotten, one mitten… and of course all those damn water bottles! The Corona Virus, Covid-19 or the Black Plague 2.0… whatever terms you’re on with it.. Has left a trail of items in the lost and found. As the days pass with this pandemic I couldn’t help but think of all the things piling up in the world’s lost and found bin right about now. But to keep it light, sometimes that laptop that got left behind is picked up the next day, and thus I’ve included some “found” moments too.

Lost - All plans. I mean, no one person exists that didn’t have something cancelled, or postponed. Think about that. Not one person isn’t affected by this. We’ve all lost something. We all have a story to tell. That’s how big this really is! We thought it would take an alien invasion to unite the entire world and yet here we are together… but apart because of social distancing… but you know, together in that.

Found - Video conferencing. While it’s been around for years never has there been a better time to create a Zoom login. In fact I’d never heard of that particular service until this started. We’ve all used it to check in on loved ones, friends, or have work meetings. Not everyone is stuck inside with family or friends, so having a way to communicate where you can see a face is important!

Lost - Sports. Look I know it’s not as important as what’s going on out there, but staying home in March would have been what I wanted to do with March Madness to watch. I mean if we were watching the NHL Playoffs start right now and the NBA ready to follow suit, this would be a whole lot cooler being home.

Found - People being good. In a time where seniors are at risk we’ve heard countless stories of people finding ways to make sure they stay as safe as possible. Even just getting groceries for an elderly neighbor… It’s hard to step up to help people when you’re supposed to stay home and social distance, but people find a way. The people on the front lines in the medical community are the heroes we expect, but what about UPS drivers and all delivery people? Grocery store and Pharmacy employees? Policemen, cleaners, and so many more... all of the sudden their lives changed too, but they aren’t sitting home bored. They are out there still working with vastly different conditions, and risking it so people can still get what they need.

Lost - Wages/Jobs. In many cases without people not free to roam, there are no customers. This equals no need for employees. I mean that’s business 101. For many, this time has been trying because they have been furloughed or let go altogether. If you live paycheck to paycheck what are you doing about now without one? It’s tough times out there, and I fear the economy is going to take a long time to recover, but I know that it will.

Found - Checking in with everyone you know. I’ve checked in with almost everyone I know in the past month and that was probably not in the cards if not for this. It’s making everyone miss… well… everyone. I popped by my rink the other day and the security guard was so excited to see me in the building he audibly let out a noise as if I had just scored an overtime winner.. Just imagine how cool it will be to eventually go back to work and see family again… we’ll get there, and maybe we’ll appreciate it more now.

Lost - Our damn minds. Regardless of how much you feel like a sane person, we’ve all had some insane thoughts during this time right? I mean even your average person is now cleaning at an “OCD level,” and rightfully so. But the fear that has struck the country hasn’t been properly quelled by the people who take the mic to tell us about this, and that’s not good, but I’m sure they weren’t sure what to say either. There’s no book called Quarantining the Country for Dummies. The unsureness of it all has really had some people on edge., See, even I lost my damn mind in that paragraph. And speaking of losing your mind...

Found - Tiger King on Netlfix. Just learning the fact that there are more tigers in the US in captivity than exist anywhere else in the world had me hooked. Then Joe Exotic vs. Carol Baskin reeled me in faster than a slow salmon at a fishing derby. Aside from this particular show there are so many things to watch and see and we’re all getting to the “Well I might watch that but I just don’t have time” the same phrase works for those who are big readers with books. A distraction. Some entertainment. We’re finding it!

Lost - Lives. Sorry to report but as of this writing we sit near 100,000 deaths world wide and almost 17,000 in the US alone, that’s the same population as the town I grew up in. No need to compare this to the flu’s numbers or any of that. People died and you can’t joke about things lost without acknowledging that this is by far the biggest loss, and my heart goes out to all affected.

Found - Resiliency. My entire life I’ve seen people overcoming adversity as inspiring. From less serious stuff like John Elway overcoming Super Bowl crushing defeats to finally win the big one twice before he hung it up. To the more serious situation the nation faced after 9/11. Everyone loves a comeback story, and eventually we’ll get one for this too. Everyone wants to get “back to normal” but how will we get there? What will the new normal be? And most importantly how long? Cause I know as a New Englander most of my life, we only get like 2 and a half months of good weather, and I don’t want to be inside for that!

Someday we’ll open the doors of our facilities again. People will learn to skate. Hockey will return. Parents will yell at referees. Kids will vandalize our locker rooms. Remember these days when we get back to normal. Remember how you missed… well... everything... everything except maybe that post-high-school-team-practice locker room smell that is. Remember that the lost and found of life is what makes us who we are. Be safe now while we feel lost, and resilient when we are found.

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