“Get off your phones! We’ve been stuck inside and on our phones for a year and a half! Now, we finally get a chance to be together!”
It was August 23, and I was at the packed Target Field in Minneapolis attending the “Hella Mega Tour” with Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer headlining. Billie Joe Armstrong, lead singer of Green Day, reminded the audience of 30,000 plus fans to live in the moment and enjoy the music rather than recording the concert and saving the videos for later so they could “relive it.”
When I went to this concert, originally scheduled for August in 2020, I had mixed feelings about everything going on. Don’t get me wrong, it was a tremendous concert, and I had an absolute blast rocking out with my brother and 30,000 other people in a sold out stadium. I have zero regrets about going. As I looked at all the people in the seats, though, both next to me and all the way in the nosebleeds, I couldn’t help but think, “Wait… COVID is still raging on.”
We are at a weird point in this pandemic, affecting us for a year and a half now, where we have something closer to normalcy, but at the same time, everything is still very different. Small venues and giant stadiums alike are opening their doors to packed houses of fans for concerts or sporting events.
And hear me when I say I am not complaining at all. I absolutely love to see people replacing the dreary and lifeless cardboard cutouts that once filled seats at games. At Virginia Tech, the Hokies have a tradition to play “Enter Sandman,” the classic Metal anthem by Metallica, over the loudspeakers as the team rushes onto the field, getting the whole stadium on their feet and jumping, ready for a game of football. It was a thing of beauty to see all those fans, united in support for their team, jumping around and having the type of fun that we have not seen since March of 2020.
To me, I thought seeing these packed stadiums again meant the pandemic would be over. And it’s not. For about a month and a half, back in May, I thought we were in the clear, but the Delta Variant has brought COVID back with a vengeance. We still have to wear masks. Hundreds of thousands are getting infected every day and people are still dying at tragic and terrifying rates.
I don’t say this to be all doom and gloom; I personally believe we are slowly but surely getting our lives back. I suppose I had the wrong expectation about how COVID was going to “go away.” Looking back on it, all those activities we love coming back at the snap of a finger like Tony Stark bringing everybody back in “Avengers: Endgame” might have been wishful thinking.
Seeing these stadiums filled with people having a blast is perhaps a good sign of things to come. We may not feel 100 percent safe for a while, but at the very least, we are slowly but surely on a path to being back together again.