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From Left Field: Positives and negatives during COVID
Adam Krebs, Reporter - photo by Adam Krebs

I don’t know how much longer I can hold off. 

I’m not talking about life in COVID Lockdown. I’m not talking about the lack of live sports.

No, I’m talking about the endless stream of head scratching headlines, stories and social media comments I get bombarded with every day.

The Fuhrer’s furor from his Twitter pulpit, to average Joe Blow sharing misinformation left and right, arguably the hardest part of COVID has been the lack of intelligence, leadership and stoicism from both leaders and the masses in America at-large.

Then throw in yet another murder of a black man by a white police officer, and it’s like nothing has changed in a decade.

There are so many pebbles being stacked into my pessimism jar that I’m afraid my eternal optimism might not be so eternal after all.

For the most part, I turn to my kids and my wife for joy. Working from home has been positive for me in that sense. These warm, sunny days this past week had us get out our little pools, though the cold hose water takes some time to warm up. Long walks are still a joy.

The bugs — especially the gnats — have been pretty brutal, though.

My body is still stuck in night owl mode. It’s been that way forever. I don’t get tired until midnight or later, despite needing to be up by 8 each morning. Oh, that’s another positive. With school out, I get an extra hour of sleep each morning. Thanks a lot, COVID!

By not getting tired until midnight, however, doesn’t mean I am asleep by then — no, that’s when I start getting tired. I’m in bed between 1 to 2 a.m. each night. That’s a lot later than my wife, and unfortunately for her, she seems to keep waking up when I am laying down to sleep.

My nightly schedule, when I’m not working on stuff for the paper, is usually spent streaming TV shows and playing video games, which of course also means my favorite game, Tecmo Super Bowl for original Nintendo.

Our Facebook group for Tecmo players has a weekly challenge to keep people’s minds off COVID and butts at home. Each week picks a different team to play a season as, and points are awarded for things like point-differential, wins, offensive and defensive yardage and specific challenges each week. We screenshot our results, and for those more seasoned players, we take video of our games for verification that we are not cheating.

Normally I put up good stats and numbers, and finish near the top, with some of the better players around the country tearing everything up. Playing with garbage teams like the Saints, and playing an entire season as the Buccaneers with only their backups messed with my psyche. 

However, the challenge two weeks ago was the LA Rams — one of my favorite teams to play with in the game. There were bonus points for “next level” challenges, which includes using certain playbooks over others, and the option to sit certain players for more points, as well as top yards per catch and yards per rush. I made it through 12 weeks before my system somehow reset — an issue that is as hair-tearing as it is normal for the old Nintendo.

With a vengeance I returned to re-start the season and played 12 games in one sitting, then played the final four games of the regular season and the playoffs in a second session.

I recorded it, and in the end, my overall challenge point totals were the highest. Which means I won. 

I’ll tell you what else, I went back and watched myself dominating with Kevin Greene on defense and was amazed at how fast the gameplay appears. I watch my friends from around the country play in online leagues often, some of the absolutely best video gamers in the world (Derek Ruble, AKA Tecmo Psycho, AKA Frozen Sith has dozens of records playing retro games. And he doesn’t live in his parent’s basement, he’s a teacher in Indiana.)

To win even just one week of the challenges, and then to go back and watch the play without the game seemingly slowed down while holding the controller, is a pretty good feeling. It actually makes me miss traveling to tournaments, dozens of which have been canceled because of COVID, including two that I most definitely would have attended.

Thanks a lot, COVID.

While winning at video games is fun, and watching my kids grow is amazing, I can’t help but think how much cooler it would be for everyone if other Americans decided to act cool and caring for all of those they live with under the land of stars and stripes. By color or creed, by religion or gender or sexual preference, by health and by intellectual prosperity, it would be cool if just once since World War II that America was more than left or right, white or black. 

It would be cool if we honored those that gave their all for us to live as a strong and prosperous nation to do so without the vitriol, without the blame game and without the individual satanism of unquestioned individual freedom over the health of neighbors and the masses. We are all in this together, quite literally. 

— Adam Krebs, AKA Super Duper, is a reporter for the Times and can be reached at