Before playing games last week, a devout Christian teammate asked us to join hands, remove our caps, offer a prayer of gratitude, and ask God to protect us. Good intentions. What’s the harm in that?
Well, I’m way atheist. I don’t believe in any supernatural beings. I find this ritual as silly as it would be if I asked everyone to dance and sing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” before the game. It’s as ridiculous to me as painting my face and sacrificing a lamb.
Still, why rock the boat? If I don’t participate then I am a distraction. One or more of my teammates are going to lose focus on hitting strikes and keeping their gloves down. They’re going to confront me and I’m going to be forced to defend my position. So, I remove my cap, turn away, roll my eyes, and think about, not how “blessed” I am to be playing this game at my age, but all the swinging, tossing, and catching I’ve done to earn my spot. I look around at the amazing field of perfect grass and smooth clay dirt. I give thanks to the grounds crew.
Guess I’ve learned to not rock the boat. My instincts tell me to speak up and take my stand. Maybe writing this is taking my stand, albeit passive-aggressively. Whatever. I don’t have the desire to fight tiny battles. It’s much safer to shrug.
It would be best if we could all speak our minds honestly. Yet, we find ourselves silently complicit as to not offend. You see, that’s where I think things are backward. The problem isn’t speaking up; it’s disrespecting the person who does. When someone asks my opinion, I’ve learned to say, “Are you seeking my honest opinion or a confirmation of yours?”
If I were brave enough to speak my mind when asked to join the pregame prayer, I would have said, “Nah, this is horse shit. I’ll go swing the heavy bat. You guys have at it,” and walked away. That would further isolate me. Introverts rejoice! Fuck. I don’t know. It’s a struggle doing what people expect and saying what they want to hear, but it’s not a fight.
Is it worth it?