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Moreland hasn't lost his fastball, even dealing with daughter's coronavirus

There is no better guy to have a beer with around here than Kevin Moreland, who is faithfully acknowledged among the best football officials and baseball umpires in our history. Moreland has the inimitable ability to put coaches and players at ease as both communicator and comedian.

But this was a different Kevin Moreland on the phone Tuesday afternoon. Two friends who have talked sports and had legendary laughs long into many nights talked about what's befallen his little girl.

Moreland learned Monday that his daughter, Cory Lynn, a nurse at Yale-New Haven, has the coronavirus. She is 24.

Moreland said she has a fever and a "dry, hacking cough," but has every reason to believe she'll make a full recovery. In her brief time on the mortal soil, Cory Lynn has beaten thyroid cancer and a cyst on her brain. Hence, her immune system probably looks at the coronavirus and goes, "not today, honey. We've seen a lot worse than you."

Moreland learned of his daughter's illness around the same time he read a story in The Day about the Mebus sisters of East Lyme, who work in different New York City hospitals. Their mom, Carmen, reached out to appeal for N95 masks, which are de facto lifelines for people on the front lines. Moreland suspects that a similar shortage of masks — and the need to recycle them — at Yale-New Haven contributed to Cory Lynn's positive test.

And to think it was only three weeks earlier that Moreland thought he'd seen the virus' worst effects. He was umpiring college baseball in Florida when the kids learned the coronavirus had just ended their season. It ended some careers.

"Some of the kids were in tears," Moreland said. "I thought it was awful. And then something like this happens. It's your child. It's a whole new thought process."

A thought process worth exploring. Moreland's perspective is different from the detached drones of disgust who blather on from the cheap seats about the virus, its origins and who's to blame, rather than actually helping anybody.

"I grew up understanding we are all responsible for ourselves and what happens to us," Moreland said. "Blaming anyone, or a country, or someone's failure to act about the virus doesn't help. It doesn't solve anything. It moves nothing forward. It just adds to the negativity, which we don't need. We need to be focused, as individuals, on doing what we can to help. And right now, that means staying home."

Our pre-virus days were awash in competitive streams of righteous indignation. But do we really have time for that now? Should we? Each day, the tentacles of the coronavirus grow closer and closer to us. Our individual responsibilities grow proportionally. So do we want to occupy our time helping each other or yammering on with I-told-you-sos, blame assessment and revisionist history?

The words of author Ron Chernow: "In the last analysis, democracy isn't just a set of institutions or shared principles, but a culture of mutual respect and civility. People must be willing to play by the rules or the best-crafted system becomes null and void, a travesty of its former self."

Playing by the rules now: help where you can and stay home.

"People really have to understand that," Moreland said. "We're still at a point where we really don't know who's infected and who isn't. That's the scariest part. And when you look at the shortages in hospitals and what those people are dealing with, we really, really have to do our part individually."

Moreland will be monitoring Cory Lynn's health in the coming days. But that doesn't mean he's not salivating at the return of baseball. This is his favorite time of year. A ballgame and then a few postgame lemonades, solving the problems of the world.

"I can tell you that noon, Saturday, is going to suck," Moreland said. "I had the plate for the Waterford-Hand game. I was supposed to be pointing at (Waterford pitcher) Jared Burrows at noon to throw the first pitch of the season."

By doing our part, we'll get back to the games faster. Meantime, say a prayer for Cory Lynn.

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro

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