In this most unusual of summers we present our most unusual take on recreation. Call it “Visionary Re-creations,” for along with this past spring this is a season in which we have all had to reinvent ourselves.
As you’ll discover in these pages, familiar events that we have covered in the past — such as the American Gold Cup, a prestigious show jumping competition that was held each September at Old Salem Farm in North Salem — have moved on to other pastures, so to speak. Other events have been postponed (the Tokyo Olympics, Phil’s story) reconfigured (the Triple Crown) or streamlined (the East Coast Open at Greenwich Polo Club; the US Open, whose USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, was briefly transformed into a hospital and a staging area for meals for patients, health-care workers and underserved children). Call it a not-so-open season, albeit one that will welcome the U.S. Open golf championship back to historic Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck next month and see new equestrian clinics and competitions at Old Salem Farm. As New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo likes to say, “We’ll take it.”
Indeed, that philosophy threads this issue. “When someone asks me how I’m doing through all of this, my usual response has been, ‘playing the hand I’ve been dealt, just like everyone else,’” WAG fitness expert Giovanni Roselli writes this month. This has certainly been a guiding principle in the life of Patrick McEnroe, our cover subject. The Davis Cup-winning coach and ESPN commentator realized early on that he would never be the tennis player older brother John was. And that was OK. Instead of dwelling on what he couldn’t do, Patrick took stock of what he could — become a fine player in his own right — a decision that has lead the Bronxville resident (and Covid-19 survivor) to a career of great versatility. (He’s also the husband of Broadway, cabaret and recording star Melissa Errico, our April cover subject, so his appearance here makes it the first time we’ve had a husband and wife on separate covers.)
“Play the hand you’re dealt”: In this issue we interpret that figuratively and literally. Psychotherapist Asha Tarry talks with us about how to cope with grief. Our veteran Sinologist Audrey Ronning Topping discusses her new book, in which she revisits her 2002 trip to Bhutan. There former Prime Minister Thakur Singh Powdyel summed up the political mindset that has made the country, a former absolute monarchy turned parliamentary democracy, a latter-day Shangri-La: “Gross National Happiness is an aspiration, a set of guiding principles through which we are navigating our path towards a sustainable and equitable society. It is our North Star.”
Our essays on the removal of certain historic statues, the existential crisis of leadership and the key role that taking a knee, or genuflecting, has played in sports — and in cultural history — all speak to society’s urgent quest for racial justice.
“Play the hand you’re dealt:” Wares columnist Cami — our own Hestia, goddess of the hearth — has some great tips for activities you can enjoy alone or with family at home. Jeremy, too, has some unusual games for those hunkering down, along with a visit to The Barley Beach House, a new restaurant in Rye Town Park and Beach; options for spending your summer vacation in the U.S. of A.; and a look at how Greenwich’s Mad Dogs cricket team is doing. (Better than we are at understanding the sport’s complex in-out rules.) Debbi makes sure that you’re well-shod wherever you go, even if it’s just to the grocery store, while Barbara takes us to Georgia’s Jekyll Island, a natural paradise. Meanwhile, Doug, our own Dionysus, helps us chillax with some memorable wines from southern Portugal — which you should, of course, savor responsibly, safely.
That should go without saying, right? But sometimes we need a reminder. We need to hear it, see it, in writing, just as we need to reclaim the sporting concept of personal best in this moment of global crisis. It’s not as important to be the best or beat the best as it is to be your best.
However you spend the last full month of summer, may it be the key to unlocking your full potential and finding your own happiness.
A 2020 YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester Visionary Award winner and a 2018 Folio Women in Media Award Winner, Georgette Gouveia is the author of “Burying the Dead,” “Daimon: A Novel of Alexander the Great” and “Seamless Sky” (JMS Books), as well as “The Penalty for Holding,” a 2018 Lambda Literary Award finalist (JMS Books), and “Water Music” (Greenleaf Book Group). They’re part of her series of novels, “The Games Men Play,” also the name of the sports/culture blog she writes.
Her short story “The Glass Door,” about love in the time of the coronavirus, will be published by JMS Aug. 12. Read WAG’s serialization of “Seamless Sky” beginning in the September issue. For more, visit thegamesmenplay.com.