When life hands you a pandemic, you put on your dancing shoes. Impromptu dance parties are the elixir that makes shelter-in-place a tad more palatable.
Adrian Gonzalez, like the rest of us, is learning to live the life of a hermit, isolated from the outside world as society does its best to flatten the curve by staying inside.
For the five-time All-Star, living the new normal means an unending list of responsibilities, a few more Instagram videos and the occasional bowl of Doritos.
Healing Through Giving
The Gonzalez family is much like a lot of families out there. Mom and dad go to work every morning, only they don’t actually go anywhere. The morning commute can now be measured in steps.
Work also takes on a great deal more weight. It means playing parent, teacher and businessperson every waking hour of a never-ending day.
But you only hear gratitude and charity from Gonzalez who, along with his wife, is doing what he can to help those who need it most during the COVID-19 shutdown, all the while keeping the daily struggles in perspective.
It was wife Betsy Gonzalez who was most recently in Italy, leaving just as travel out of the country was becoming a real issue. Going on instinct and switching to an earlier flight meant Gonzalez was able to get home rather than face a two-week delay like other members of her team.
“First thing we do when we eat breakfast is we get together and we do our daily prayer,” says founder and creative director of Mia Becar Betsy Gonzalez. “I know we’re going through a hard time, but we’re together. We’re grateful to be together. That’s the first thing.”
Betsy’s shoe company recently donated proceeds from sales to the Mia Becar Foundation, which partners with the California Community Foundation, to aid those fighting COVID-19.
It’s the latter organization that leans on strong ties to the community to help get funds to those that need it most.
“They are in the community and they know what the community needs are. It made sense for us to be a part of that,” Betsy says.
Baseball and Business
The former first baseman hasn’t remotely slowed down despite last playing for the Mets in June of 2018. Baseball continues to be a passion and a goal.
“Yes, I think I’m going to consider the 2021 Olympics," Gonzalez says. "Something I never thought I would get to do is become an Olympic athlete."
He has had the opportunity to represent Mexico in the past. Here he is hitting it out at the 2009 Caribbean Series.
To get there means not only staying in shape—queue the occasional Instagram fitness challenge—but finding a league that will get him the reps prior to summer 2021. Playing in Mexico or Japan is appealing to the 37-year-old.
For the moment, the Nippon Professional League is saddled with the same uncertainty that surrounds every other major sporting league around the world. The league is now looking at a June start while Korea's KBO and Taiwan's CPBL have started games.
The former helped spread levity during California shelter-in-place orders with a virtual Taco Tuesday Happy Hour, hosted by Gonzalez and joined by Mario Lopez and Tacos 1986’s Jorge Alvarez.
Here is a recent one with Danny Trejo.
Active Faith is not only now making masks for its patrons to purchase, but it’s also garnering N95 masks to donate to hospitals around the country that need them.
“What I’m doing personally I’m doing 1,000 masks to Tijuana, Mexico, and 3,000 to L.A.,” Gonzalez says on his own donation of masks. “And I’m working right now to see how I’m going to get them to the healthcare professionals.”
On top of all that, he is also grappling with how to sustain not only Calidad (a provider of beer to establishments such as Disneyland) but also the 11 Jersey Mike’s locations of which he is a franchise owner.
Much like so many others, Gonzalez has had to pivot to find sustainable solutions to maintain staff amid a profound and increasingly lonely time.
We all yearn for more family time. But leave it to a global pandemic to make things a little redundant. “There’s only so many times you can play loteria, right?” Gonzalez quips.
But the family of four is not without a constant stream of entertainment, from dance parties to board games and all the movies in between.
Once Disney fare had been exhausted it was onto some deeper cuts. That meant diving into the world of “Jumanji,” starting with the Robin Williams version before making it to the Rock’s remake.
Even Superman has made a cameo on the screen in the form of “Superman 2” and “Superman 3.” That would be the General Zod (Terrence Stamp) and Richard Pryor flicks respectively if you’re scoring at home.
While much of the downtime means getting workouts in, Gonzalez knows how to unwind properly: “I typically get a bowl of Doritos with hot sauce and lime. And my girls just have Doritos by themselves.”
We can all use a helping hand. Whenever you figure out anything that alleviates a modicum of the burden you need to shout it from the mountaintops or, more likely, a barely cracked front door.
“One thing my wife and I did start doing is basically giving ourselves an hour a day,” Gonzalez says. “She can go anywhere in the house for an hour and just be unplugged from the family. That hour is my responsibility to take care of the girls.”
For an hour, mama or papa can go to a corner of the home and just let out a sigh and be alone. They don’t have to play parent, homemaker, teacher or businessperson.
They can just be and “take a deep breath and relax.”
It’s something simple we should all remember to do. Breathe and relax. This will all be over. We might not know the exact date but the certainty that it will end is something to lean on.
And there is always the parting wisdom of Betsy Gonzalez to consider: “Working out and meditating as well, that’s how I navigate through the day, and a little glass of wine at the end.”