Last weekend I attended a spiritual retreat. It was one of those Pagan "spend a lot of time in the woods taking imaginary journeys" kind of retreats, and if you've never tried one, well, I recommend it.
Anyway, this particular meditation involved going to "The Temple" to commune with your gods. Since I lean agnostic, if not downright atheist, this didn't seem all that compelling; still, I was willing to give it a try. The facilitator told us to follow a path, which in my case turned out to be a dried out, rocky stream bed. As our "temples" came into view, I noticed a 19th century-style building with SALOON printed on it in very large letters. Looked intriguing...
Inside it was indeed an old saloon with a large bar in the back, lots of wooden tables and chairs. Soft sunlight slanted in from the front windows, but it was pretty dim inside. Everything had a worn & weathered feel. Behind the bar was a young woman dressed in period style. She greeted me, invited me to sit down, and brought me a sasparilla. The place was mostly deserted, although from somewhere I did hear a rinky dink piano playing a familiar tune.
Just then two men staggered up. It seemed like they'd been imbibing something stronger than sasparilla, and plenty of it. "How're ya doin', little lady? Welcome to our humble establishment." I recognized them from their baseball cards: Honus Wagner and Old Hoss Radbourn. They invited me on a tour "out back." How could I say no?
There was the baseball diamond, with a game in progress. About this time, back in "shared reality" the facilitator mentioned that the temple might include a cemetary of some kind, and suddenly, there it was. Various ball players would rise out of their graves, come by and greet us, take an at bat or toss an inning, eat a hot dog, etc. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Satchel Paige, Joss Gibson, Cory Lidle, Thurman Munson, Roberto Clemente, and on & on. I'm sure Jose Fernandez was there, but sadly, I didn't see him.
After a few innings, I found myself wandering back into the bar, which was still deserted. I noticed that a TV had been installed, tuned to the game outside. I approached the bar and asked the saloon mistress, "Who are you?'
"I am the Female Baseball Fan. We've always been here."
Suddenly I got a vision of many women down through the centuries, catching a few innings before the kids get home from school, checking box scores, listening to the game on the radio while cooking dinner, teaching their kids the game, etc. etc. And then there they were filling the bar, the ghosts of fans past, all female.
The barkeep & I hung out for a while, watching the game on tv. She told me there was a new wing in the cemetery just for announcers, and I could choose who called the game. "Lon Simmons, please," I said. She also admonished me, "you really need to see A League of Their Own." (It's true, I've never seen it all the way through.)
I asked her if I would live to see a woman playing in the major leagues, but she only shrugged. The answer was unclear.
The meditation was about to end, so I said a quick prayer for Madbum, Smarj, and Melancon, and for the general health of the Giants, and made my way back to "shared reality."
And that is how I met the baseball gods. And goddesses.