Despite distancing and isolation, you can make a difference

Last Sunday, a friend of mine posted on Facebook that Monday would be the 30-year anniv- ersary of his football team winning the state title.

He posted several news articles and photos and even a commentary, all written by the reporter from the Demopolis (Ala.) Times who covered that team all season long: a certain David B. Snow.

That’s right. I’ve been writing for newspapers since I was 8. But seriously.

When you work for a newspaper, you “get” that you are touching several lives in the work that you do, as anyone would want for their work. There are just some times when it strikes you how much you have done that.

The photo associated with this commentary was taken from that commentary published 30 years ago today, congratulating that team and praising the coach and players for the class and poise it showed throughout the season.

I’ve been using the title “From the Back of My Mind” for all of my commentaries, I guess, since I started working for that paper in 1989, and using my middle initial since I graduated high school, since there was another student there whose name was David Snow, poor kid.

I was just stunned when I saw my work being posted from so far back, with several players and fans thanking me for the work that I did.

The person who posted all of this was a player on the team, and is now a football radio announcer for another school in that town. When I covered his team 30 years ago, I prepared game notes with stats and other information like I used to do in college and gave them to media and a few of the fans. Now, he puts similar notes together and posts them for the fans because he liked what I did back in the day.

There is an amount of pride when you see something like that — especially from so long ago, that is paid forward — and that’s my point today.

The things that you do affect others, for good or bad. During times when we are more isolated than usual, it is hard to do for others, but there are still ways to do it.

I’m not talking about the COVID WMD: washing hands, masking up and distancing yourself. That’s more about not giving of yourself to others.

While it seems that the internet is the answer to getting around the coronavirus, there are still old-fashioned ways to show support, and the Christmas season is about the best time to do that, although it still works as well in the other 11 months.

Mailing a card or letter to people in your family or to friends or others you may not know that well would go a long way.

Volunteering your time for neighbors or others who are less able to get out and rake leaves or other chores that need doing.

Calling people who are alone can also raise spirits at a time when it is hard to find something to smile about.

Your church or friends might know of people who could use an extra hand with something. If you do volunteer work elsewhere, remember to do your WMD.

It is hard to find ways to do meaningful things for those around us in this time of masking and social distancing, but remember that “meaningful things” don’t have to be grandiose actions. Like they say, it is the little things that mean a lot.

It won’t be anything that makes the newspapers or TV news, but that’s not the point, anyway. The whole reason we reach out and help others is not for the fame but the fortune in feelings that the helper and the helpee both get.

When this whole COVID-19 pandemic is lessened to the point where we can get back to doing things “the 2019 way,” there will be more opportunities to touch other lives through the things that we do, either through our work or through our own dedication.

Just do what you can to find a way. These days, some people need to know that there are still people out there and that human compassion is not infected like human beings are.

You just never know if something you do today will come back and shine on you 30 years later. I hope it does.

David B. Snow is the reporter for the Princeton Times Leader.