The Good Press — Issue #34: Endurance

The Good Press
8 min readDec 9, 2020

Hello and welcome to another edition of The Good Press, a newsletter of observations about life, sports, and/or anything else that comes to mind.

Thanks for reading. I hope you find this issue to be worth your time.

Comments and reader suggestions are always welcome.


This Thursday at sundown is the beginning of Hanukkah, the annual eight-night-and-day Jewish festival of lights (that seems to have nearly as many English-language spellings as it does candles on the Menorah/Hanukkiah).

In a normal year, (without a raging viral pandemic that continues to get worse by the day), I would be spending part of Hanukkah with my parents, who are currently in the final stages of selling their house and retiring (mazel tov!).


en·dur·ance / inˈd(y)o͝orəns, enˈd(y)o͝orəns / noun

  • the ability to withstand hardship or adversity
  • enduring an unpleasant or difficult situation without giving way

Synonyms include: fortitude, tolerance, durability, persistence, ceaselessness

I find myself thinking about the Hanukkah story when it comes to the predicament of the virus. Though I suppose the plague part is more of a dead ringer for Passover, many Jewish holiday stories do go the way of, “they tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat,” to some degree. With Hanukkah, however, I think the most memorable part is that the oil in the Temple seemed to only be enough to last for a night or two; yet nevertheless, it endured for eight.

The Jewish people know a thing or two about endurance. Human beings, in general, have endured for thousands of years because of our resilience and our ability to adjust and adapt and evolve, to always find a way to keep going.

In the Jewish faith, there is a concept called pikuach nefesh (which you can read more about here and here) that essentially boils down to the sanctity of human life and that the obligation to save a life supersedes all other rules.

Pikuach nefesh means that people are obligated to eat on Yom Kippur if they’re feeling ill, they can drive to the hospital on Shabbat if need be, and yes, people can observe their religious services on Zoom during a pandemic.

In Other Words

This virus is nonpartisan and unbiased when it comes to wrecking holiday plans. So, whether it’s Hanukkah, Christmas, both, or neither, it’s going to have to be a virtual holiday season for most Americans this year. This is something I’ve talked about for weeks, and things are still going to be this way for the foreseeable future. It simply isn’t worth risking the alternative.

We’re nine months into this thing in the U.S. The worst appears yet to come. It is so crucial, now more than ever, to stay safe and weather this final surge of this storm until the coronavirus vaccines are widely available to the public and we can make COVID-19 a disease we can manage much more effectively.

It’s going to be a long, gloomy, and tragic winter for so many families around the world, despite the heroic efforts of our overworked health care workers. We must endure this, for ourselves and our communities. My plea, once more, is to make alternative plans for the holiday season if you were planning to gather with others from outside of your immediate household this month. We’ve come this far, there is daybreak over the horizon, but we can’t let up.

It’s hard, I know. It’s hard to think about it, to have it in the back of your mind every day. Knowing you have to be damn near perfect to avoid infection if you do venture out of your household and risk bringing the virus home.

If you have the privilege to comfortably live your life exclusively from home, I would urge you to keep hunkering down for the time being. I know that not everyone has that privilege, and my heart goes out to people all around the world who have little choice but to risk exposure. I know it’s hard to fight an invisible enemy, and even our own minds can trick us into taking unnecessary risks during uncertain times, as experts explained to ProPublica recently.

Recently, we’ve had multiple days where more Americans died of COVID-19 than the total American death toll of the Pearl Harbor attacks. That daily death toll may soon exceed 9/11’s total death toll, too, if we’re not careful.

A Pearl Harbor per day. A 9/11 per day. That’s what we are looking at now, because of a negligent, incompetent federal government whose pandemic response seems indistinguishable from intentional genocide at this point. I don’t know how else to explain the priorities of the outgoing administration. If the outgoing president were trying to intentionally harm Americans with bioterrorism, how different would his actions be than they are right now?

With better leadership, our government could lead by example, the way that other countries do during a pandemic. Rooting major policy decisions in facts and science should not be a partisan issue, but with one of the major political parties trying to force a fascist fever dream on us all, every American suffers. History will judge harshly those who aided and abetted this farce of an administration in the name of naked greed and corruption. It’s fascinating to me to see how society has adapted to the massive void left behind by the lack of leadership from the White House, with CEOs, faith leaders, scientists, sports league commissioners, and many others attempting to fill the void.

I wanted to pass along some interesting words I read recently from Pope Francis of the Catholic Church, whose new book from all accounts seems to touch on the human condition in a way that transcends religious affiliation:

From the book excerpt published in The NY Times, it seems Pope Francis has a healthy perspective on the world we live in, a perspective that people of all backgrounds might want to take into account, especially those in leadership.

So no matter your particular religious affiliation, whatever you personally believe in and draw strength from, remember this holiday season that we are all in this together as human beings, hunkered down to fight this virus and to win this war so that in the future, we can all be together again someday soon.

The bottom line is that there’s no wishing the virus away. As much as it sucks to always have these precautions at the back of your mind every day, we must remember that the virus has endured, too, for over a year now, and it is not going to relent. We have to stay focused and diligent. We must. We will.

Parting Thoughts

Thank you to those who passed along well-wishes last week. We celebrated my lovely partner’s birthday (in a very delicious way) last Wednesday, and we also celebrated the nuptials of my brother and his wife this past Saturday.

It was a happy, cozy, low-key birthday for my partner and me, celebrating in our Pocono pod with her parents (and a couple of homemade treats). She really enjoyed the nice, quiet day in, a change of pace from birthdays past. There were phone calls and messages from loved ones, movie marathons, and I ensured she did not have to lift a finger all day long. It was her day, it was a wonderful day. I love it when I can spoil her in as many ways as I can.

Saturday afternoon, decked out in masks, keeping social distance, we spent about an hour or so at a courthouse where my brother and his bride tied the knot, exchanging vows in a beautiful, no-frills ceremony. The full-on wedding ceremony and reception full of frills and loved ones will come in the future, but he and his wife dated for years and are so in love that they didn’t want to wait another minute more. She has really brought out his best, and I know the feeling because it reminds me of how my partner brings out my best, too.

Speaking of which, it’s fair to say that my partner and I will be next. We are not engaged yet, but I do have a ring that I think is nearly as beautiful as she is. She reads The Good Press each week and she is aware of the ring, so I’m not indirectly breaking any news to her here in this space. The particularities of the “when” are something she is not aware of, and since she does read this newsletter each week, I’m afraid I can’t divulge further information about that for now. I’m certain that it will be fodder for a future issue soon enough.

It’s been a few days now since the wedding, the last time I expect to see my family in person until at least some time next year, and I will admit that by breaking my own rule to permit a little closeness (especially after reading the ProPublica article mentioned above), I’m still anxious about how safe it was.

Ultimately, I can’t change the decision, and I can only hope that in the coming days/weeks, we all continue to be healthy, and hopefully, disaster avoided. I’m going to remain anxious for another week or so until we’re all in the clear, and that is the burden that comes with making an unsafe exception to a rule that I aim to make ironclad going forward. It’s winter hibernation time now.

At the end of the darkness is the light, and so we will endure until the dawn.

That’s what we’ll do because that’s what it takes, and as my mom always reminds me: “it’s amazing what you can do when you have to.” As long as we’re fortunate enough to wake up each day on this incredible planet, we should do our best to keep doing our best and to focus on what matters most.

Humans are imperfect by nature, but we’re adaptable and we know how to endure. Once this storm passes, we will channel that strength into action, into building back even better than before, from the lessons we’ve endured.

A way out of the darkness will be here soon if we make decisions rooted in science. May we all draw strength and draw knowledge from what we continue to learn every day; about the virus, and about human beings, too.

Till next time,


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The Good Press

a newsletter of observations about life, sports, and/or anything else that comes to mind