Baseball Musings

I’m taking a writing class this summer and this is the first bit of my rough draft. After this it gets really disorganized and sparse, but I actually kinda like this section.

It’s Sunday morning, and I am at church. It is the first time in my life I have ever been to church, and I am here with a friend who made a deal to a God she doesn’t believe in that if she passed all her finals, she’d go to church every Sunday all summer long. So here I am, waking up early every Sunday, to go with her. I think she invited me because she knows that in matters of religion, I am as ignorant as she is, that of anyone she could have invited, I would feel most out of place.

We arrive early, and sit silently, wearing what we hope will pass as pious respecting expressions. I stare at my knees, hoping maybe it’ll look like I’m praying. People slowly and quietly file into the small church, and occasionally I’ll glance up and give a brief hello nod to someone. We are by far the youngest people here, the rest of the congregation is made up of retirees or empty nesters who have likely been coming here for years. They must be wondering what we, two young kids fresh out of high school, are doing here.

During the ceremony, my friend and I follow along as best we can, taking our lead from the couple sitting next to me. They are maybe ten years older than my parents, with gray hair, and both wear khaki colored slacks, which seems to be the dress code for about half the congregation.  At one point, the ceremony requires us to greet our neighbors, so we turn, introduce ourselves, and exchange pleasantries with these strangers. I don’t know it at the time, but the memory of this brief connection based on false pretenses will remain with me for many years.

My training in theatre served me well on this church visit. I am able to follow along, kneel at the appropriate moments and catch on to the tunes of the hymns with little difficulty. I’m not uncomfortable improvising. Still, I feel conflicted. Church should be an area of true devotion, of honesty and faith, of the moving power of God, and despite not believing in God, I feel like He is watching me, judging me, like He knows that even though my actions are in the right place, my mind isn’t. I feel uncomfortable fooling these people, making them think I am one of them while knowing myself to be a phony.

In a way, I have almost an “us versus them” mentality when it comes to people who go to church. I grew up an atheist, with a father who scoffed at organized religion. I never understood how people could believe so strongly in the Bible and some of the stories it told–they seemed too outrageous to possibly be taken seriously. When I went to church, I was forced to assimilate with them–to see them as religious people, but also as people who were kind, and for the most part pretty normal. No matter how hard I pretended or tried, I couldn’t see myself as one of them, though, and that soured the whole experience.

I don’t have religion to ground myself into a larger community, but I do have baseball. I don’t go to church, but I still have the stadium and sports bars. The darkness, closeness, all eyes fixed on screens mounted in the corners, that excited glance and high-five with the guy next to me, as if we both knew as Todd Helton stepped up to the plate, he’d hit that go-ahead home run. In those moments, I can read minds. I can glance around the room, and see the same look on everyone’s faces, and occasionally catch a glimpse of my own face in a mirror across the room and see the same look on my face.  Everyone in the room is thinking the same thing, and I’m very much a part of that. It’s a miracle on a small scale, but that miracle of connecting with a stranger and feeling like a part of something bigger than ourselves is powerful.

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~ by kiranapoleon on June 15, 2009.

2 Responses to “Baseball Musings”

  1. Wow, I like this. Lol, at first I missed the part where you said this was for a writing class and I thought you were talking about you. I was really sucked into it, which is a good sign!

  2. Neat. 🙂

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