Running a marathon in a year like no other

Image for post
Image for post

In June, New York Road Runners announced that this year’s New York City Marathon, scheduled for November 1st, had been canceled due to coronavirus concerns.

If the event had gone on as usual, it would have been my fifth consecutive NYC Marathon and my eighth overall. And this was going to be a big one — the 50th running of the race.

Before the NYC Marathon expanded in 1976 to the city-wide extravaganza it is today, the course was four-plus loops of Central Park. There were 127 registered runners and just 55 crossed the finish line.

I love looking at photos of those early races. Shaggy dudes in short shorts. A bicyclist who pauses, curious, to watch the pack of runners streak by. A winner making peace signs with his hands as he approaches the finish line — a piece of tape pulled taut by two little kids. It was all so unobtrusive and eccentric and no-frills. …


I hear you. Now here’s why you should vote for Biden

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash

Dear Trump Supporters,

This morning, along with the rest of the world, I awoke to the news that the president and first lady have tested positive for Covid-19. I’m not gonna lie. The “left-wing” columnists and commentators, talk show hosts and tweeters, are going to have a freaking field day with this.

While I will never say that Trump deserves to have contracted the virus he promised would disappear like a miracle (no one deserves to get sick), there is something deeply satisfying about this development.

But those who want Trump gone become satisfied at their peril.

I’m not going to be so arrogant as to think this turn of events will seal Trump’s doom. I won’t make the mistake of thinking that Biden’s got it in the bag. If paying off porn stars, being Putin’s puppet, and getting impeached couldn’t take this guy down, I’m not counting on corona to do it, either. In fact, he’ll probably find a way to spin testing positive into a positive. …


Yes, Democrats, I’m talking to you

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Imagine this: Donald Trump wins a second term.

And it’s not because he cheated. There’s no rigging. No bots or missing ballots. No relying on his comrade Vlad to get him over the line.

None of the doomsday scenarios the Dems are assuming will come to pass actually come to pass. There’s no military intervention, no violence in the streets.

He just plain wins. As in get more votes. Like, a lot more. The country spoke and what the majority of it said is that it wants Trump to stick around.

What will the left do then?

Will it finally embark upon the soul-searching it failed to do after Hillary failed to win the electoral college? …


Biden-Harris is our ticket out of our long national nightmare

Image for post
Image for post
Thapanee Srisawat for Unsplash

I wasn’t sure about Kamala Harris.

When she was running for president, I found her bland. She just didn’t make much of an impression on me.

But she sure did today.

I just listened to her speech from her first appearance with Joe Biden since being selected as his running mate and… damn.

Honestly, I was surprised more than anything — in the best way. I expected to tune out about 30 seconds into it, when she’d go into her talking points, canned lines, and attempts at humor that had been focused-grouped within an inch of their lives.

That’s what I did with Hillary Clinton when she was running for president. I disengaged. Because so much of it came off as overthought and overmanaged. It was as if she didn’t trust her audience, or herself, enough to say what she really thought. A strange combination of entitlement (if anyone’s earned this job, I have) and insecurity that always left me cold. …


In this moment, rage is justified but is it useful?

Image for post
Image for post

There’s a lot of Trump-rage out there now.

Rage over his utter failure on Covid-19.

Rage over how he’s destroying the economy.

Rage over his blatant bigotry at a time when the world is demanding racial justice and equality.

Rage over the panic he’s sowing in parents, teachers, and children over whether and when they can safely return to school.

Hell, I was enraged when I saw a headline about how Trump was going to throw out the first pitch at my beloved Yankee Stadium on August 15th, until I read the story and found out it was FAKE NEWS.

There’s a lot to be angry about when it comes to the president. And that anger over everything from the fact that he’s a science-averse dumbass who should’ve and, more important, could’ve quelled this virus months ago to his pathological jealousy of Dr. …


The left could hand Trump four more years

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

When I first started writing about Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility in early June, I could find exactly one other writer who was willing to call out this “must-read” for the exquisite work of hucksterism it actually is.

That was Jonathan Church, who, in August 2018 wrote a piece for the website Quilette called “The Problem with ‘White Fragility’ Theory.”

Nearly two years passed before Church wrote another piece called, “Dear White People: Please Do Not Read Robin DiAngelo’s ‘White Fragility.”

Now, at long last, more writers, journalists, and authors as well as educators and just really smart thinkers are starting to shine a light on the cult of DiAngelo and her dangerous, absurd ideas. …


Starting the baseball season in July is bizarre, but I’ll take it

Image for post
Image for post

It’s four months late, far shorter and way weirder than we ever could’ve imagined it would be — but the Major League Baseball season is finally here.

Tonight the Washington Nationals will be at home against the New York Yankees, and the Los Angeles Dodgers will host the San Francisco Giants.

LET’S GO YANKEES!

Sorry, I digress.

I, for one, cannot wait to see what this 60-game, regionally scheduled, everyone-has-a-DH season brings. If the lead-up is any indication, it’s gonna be a wild ride.

There are cardboard cutouts in the stands.

There’s piped-in crowd noise.

On Monday night, in an exhibition game against the Phillies, Aaron Judge hit a home run with three outs in the fifth. …


Powerful voices on all sides come out against cancel culture

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

On July 7th, Harper’s Magazine published “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate.”

It was signed by 153 prominent artists, educators, journalists, and scholars from all over the creative and ideological map. Salman Rushdie, Gloria Steinem, Noam Chomsky, Atul Gawande, Bill T. Jones, David Brooks, Wynton Marsalis, J.K. Rowling, and many more.

No one who signed it is perfect, pure, or without flaws. But they came together, rose above their differences, and did something brave, powerful, and critically important.

Thomas Chatterton Williams, the writer and author who spearheaded the letter, told The New York Times, “We’re not just a bunch of old white guys sitting around writing this letter. It includes plenty of Black thinkers, Muslim thinkers, Jewish thinkers, people who are trans and gay, old and young, right wing and left wing. …


As the presidential election nears, it’s time to examine what makes a good leader

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Dil on Unsplash

On June 19th, after 111 consecutive days, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gave his last daily coronavirus briefing.

I miss them.

That may sound strange. Why would I miss watching an hour-long rundown on the devastation coronavirus has wrought? I won’t.

I’ll miss the lesson in leadership.

Not everyone is a Cuomo fan. But it’s hard to find anyone, even those who in “normal” times can’t stand the man, who’ll say he’s done a lousy job during the pandemic.

What’s made him stand out, of course, is the utter failure of leadership on the federal level. …


Let’s bring back respectful debate, critical thinking, and balance to the discussion of racial justice

Image for post
Image for post

I am not what you’d call a “Star Wars” person, but I am married to one. When the pandemic hit, my husband thought it was the perfect time to show the movies to our 10-year-daughter. All nine in the saga. Plus “Rogue One” and “Solo.”

I liked some better than others, but what I dug the most was the idea of a Rebel Alliance — a resistance movement that fights to restore democracy.

A democracy, in case you’ve forgotten (I wouldn’t blame you), is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Democracies are supposed to encourage and support a free exchange of ideas, robust and respectful debate, and critical thinking. We don’t all have to agree. In fact, it’s essential that we don’t. …

About

Joanna Cohen

Writer, athlete, mom, sports fan. New York City native. Probably the only person on earth who has interviewed Derek Jeter and written dialogue for Susan Lucci.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store