Friday, October 29, 2010

Heart Openings at the Game

When I was a child I had dreams of being the first woman in major league baseball. Admittedly, even at 44, I still have fantasies that this may happen. A woman can dream after all! As a kid, I was the home run hitter and I played a very good second base too. I played as much as I could and if I was not playing I was training my brother to become the amazing little leaguer he became.

At fourteen when we were required to rotate between two different groups during PE, two weeks for softball and two weeks for swimming, I asked my doctor to write a note for me so that I could simply play softball for the entire month-long period. There were two reasons. While I liked to swim, my blond hair would have turned green from overexposure to the chlorine and secondly, I simply wanted to play ball anyway. The doctor very nicely obliged saying that I was allergic to chlorine or something like that and I got to play.

At the end of both rotations, each player was able to elect the players they wanted for an all-star game between the two rotations. I was the only girl picked for either side and I was voted to play on both teams. The teacher decided that I would play on the team that I played with first and so it was. We won. It was a great day.

Sadly for my baseball career, the following year the majority of the boys went through puberty and I was no longer strong enough to compete. I hung up my cleats for good.

Fast-forward thirty years. I sat in the living room in front of the large screen TV watching the second game of the 2010 World Series. I was excited. My team, the Giants, had played exceptionally well in the first game and won. By the seventh inning of game two, we were up 2-0 and it looked like game 2 was also locked down for us. My enthusiasm was boiling over with delight. I applauded each run while hooting and hollering at the TV, congratulating the players from a far. I was so happy. Then something happened. I made a shift.

It is customary for relief pitchers to replace the man who opens the game. The Rangers pitcher developed a blister on his finger that was preventing him from performing properly. The relief pitcher came up during the 8th inning and threw four balls in a row, walking our man. It was surprising to say the least, but our guy was on first base and that was a good thing.

The second batter was up and four more balls were thrown until he was walked. The pitcher continued to throw ball after ball without a hint of a strike anywhere to be seen allowing player after player to get on base until eventually a run walked in. I had never seen a run being walked in before. As the cheers were being hailed for the Giants something inside me began to grow…my compassion. I clearly felt this player’s nerves. Here he was in the World Series making such huge mistakes. He was eventually taken out and two more relief pitchers filled in. But they too only threw balls and more runs were walked in. I found myself in prayer position actually praying for the other team, hoping that they would throw strikes so that the inning would be over. I also hoped their professional careers were not finished for one game’s mistakes.

I orated that I felt compassion for other team and was put down for my feelings not only from those in the room, but from those on Facebook afterwards. I heard taunts of, “These people are major league players at the World Series and should know better,” “They deserve it,” and “I am not a true fan.” I could have closed down, but my compassion grew to not only include the three pitchers, but also the people that criticized me for showing my heart. My ring of compassion grew yet again to all Giants fans everywhere who gloated from the Rangers misfortune and to those Rangers fans that were clearly disappointed for their team’s mistakes.

I realize there is a lot of money riding on professional sports, but so what? It is still just a game. Visions of little league games where parents get visibly angry at their children for making mistakes on the field. What happened to playing for the fun of the game? Why is it that we take sports so seriously that it is almost life or death?

The way I see it, the Universe constantly gives us opportunities to experience compassion, whether it is from earthquakes or volcanoes destroying whole areas or from buildings falling down from airplanes hitting them or even when the other team in a World Series makes a lot of mistakes, we are given the chance to have a heart opening. I heeded to the Universe’s call and felt compassion for a whole lot of people and am thankful for the lesson that there is indeed more to life than baseball.

Thank you for reading and Namaste! (The Light in me recognizes the Light in you!)

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