COVID-19 #2: Jeremy and Tim

In high school, Jeremy Lane was a half decent fullback. In college, he became a mediocre winger/striker. Since then, he’s actually gotten pretty good, and now, on the wrong side of 30, wishes he could have been so as an 18-year-old. Alas. Jeremy co-hosts the All Three Points podcast with Chris Gibbons.

Tim Jones is a southwestern Ohio buckeye transplanted to Chester County, as well as a retired high school soccer coach and teacher who used to have a decent working knowledge of some topics within history twenty years ago. He has held Union season tickets since 2010 and focuses on Bethlehem Steel FC and the Philadelphia Union Academy Schoolhouse in his work for PSP. He is on a first-name basis with the major potholes on the northeast extension between the turnpike and Quakertown.

These are their stories.

Jeremy Lane

The morning of Sunday, March 8, I was doing what I always do: playing an O30 Men’s indoor soccer match at an ungodly hour. I was loving every moment, because that’s what people like us do. We relish every 8:00 am game against hungover friends who, like us, only feel fully alive when playing the game. A few minutes from time, I got caught in a high-speed 50-50 challenge on the sideline. The tackle wasn’t malicious, just marginally late, and the result was the worst ankle sprain I’ve had in my life. It’s been seven weeks, and I’m still feeling the effects.

A few days later, as the group texts went around asking who was available for the next game and who was going to miss out, I knew I couldn’t go. But soon enough, it became clear that no games would go, because everything in New York State was shutting down. At first, this was a relief: I wouldn’t miss any games because of my injury. I hate missing games. For one thing, it’s lost money. I pay for every opportunity to play in a league. But it’s also my main source of relaxation, my way to do something just for me. I’m a stay-at-home dad, so my life is all about my kids and my family. Soccer is my private escape.

But as the lockdown has continued, and it becomes increasingly difficult to envision playing games again this summer, maybe even this year (or longer?), darker thoughts are creeping into my head. I turn 39 in August. I only have so many productive soccer-playing years left. I could probably count the number of games I’ll be able to play before age and injuries force me to stop.

I’m lucky. I’m still fit. I’m healthy. My family is healthy, too. My wife has a good job, so we haven’t lost a paycheck. When this is all over—in six weeks, six months, two years?—I’ll be able to keep playing. But as MLS considers a 50% pay cut for all players, I can’t help but think about all the people for whom a ruction like this will mean the end, and not just of their ability to play a game.

Tim Jones

I am a Quaker, and I recently transferred my membership in the Religious Society of Friends from the Monthly Meeting in southwestern Ohio of which my parents were founding members to one here in southeastern Pennsylvania. The new one meets on the campus of the local school where I taught history for a few years a long time ago.

The coronavirus pandemic has closed the physical campus and its Meeting House. But the school’s IT department creates “virtual” Meetings for Worship in Quakerism’s unprogrammed tradition every Sunday, using a videoconferencing platform.

Participants sign-in to the appointed link at the designated time and sit in silence waiting for the Light to lead them to speak. On everyone’s screen is an interior image of long, empty meeting house benches backed by the windows whose natural light iss compatible with creating useable electronic imagery.

When a Friend is so moved, he or she unmutes their microphone instead of rising to their feet and speaks as the spirit is leading them. I find “virtual” spoken ministry to be remarkably similar to being physically present together in the same shared space.

When physically together, attenders do not swivel in their seats to look at the speaker.  They do not move as only sound conveys the message. Only voices are recognizable. “Virtually,” the only way a speaker is identified is if the list of participants is visible on the side where the speaker’s microphone symbol is no longer muted. Virtual reality separates the speaker’s identity from the message better than does shared physical practice.If a next message comes, by custom the next speaker allows an interval to pass so all can digest the first offering more completely. That discipline is easily followed in either environment.

It is remarkable how much “virtual” speaking in Meeting conveys messages is the same way as when all are physically together in the same space.

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