I just did something I rarely do. Preparing to write this, I took a look at last year’s April column. I already knew I wanted to reuse the title of last year’s feature for this year’s cover AND feature. I liked the word “Sportitude” then, and I still do. It perfectly captures the mood and intent of having the right fortitude and attitude now as it did last year when our worlds went into a phase of lockdown and isolation.
Last year at this exact time, I was trying to find a space where I could work without getting in the way of my son and wife as they also struggled with where they were going to function.
We actually set up a small corner in the basement as a study space for my son Gram so he could fulfill the virtual tasks of his second college semester with as few distractions as possible. The work desk was an old kitchen table from my Grandmother’s house. It likely dates back to the late 1930s. We tucked it into a corner where I stored an overflow of record LPs from my (far to vast) album collection. A variety of amplifiers and guitars had also gravitated to that corner over the years. For a seat, we accommodated with an old NYC public school principal’s swivel chair that my dad had reconditioned at some point back in the 1960s. It squeaked then, and it still does.
Gram hated the virtual learning experience. He is in a tech college for a degree in auto restoration, and no amount of Zoom sessions and textbook studies can make up for the experience of learning to shape metal and deliver fine paint applications to precious classic cars. He retreated to his bedroom (and bed as a workspace!) in order to grumble his way through the virtual nightmare and was thrilled when Penn College decided to resume on campus lab studies this past fall and now into the spring. So, I took over the workspace in the basement, and I love it.
I miss the daylights out of my daily face-to-face contact with the full team at 20/20… editors, art directors, sales, marketing and any and all involved with the support it takes to deliver the entity of 20/20. BUT I’ve connected with all of them and all of YOU in new and emotionally fulfilling ways that go right to the heart of that Fortitude that evolved into Sportitude.
Via emails, phone conversations and close connectivity on all forms of social media, it is all of you I answer to and go to answers for. And the challenges of the past year have been met with a new sense of resolve, solutions, energy, empathy and newly defined facets of friendship.
You are all captains of the industry and artistry, and health and self-image and self-worth it takes to take on all of what we have faced, and what we will face in our united futures. I might even get a turntable for down here. We could all use some music as we muse and amuse ourselves.
• James J. Spina