I am an atheist. But I’m an atheist who believes that death is not the end of existence. There are libraries full of true life ghost stories, I call them eye witness statements. If you analyze the details of those stories it becomes apparent very quickly, if those statements are true, and I have no reason to believe that many of them are not, that the things we imagine are important in our lives are not what is important when we have moved on to the next stages of existence, whatever it is that those may be.
I have struggled with mental illness all my life. I am intelligent, charismatic, and a good communicator. I have been told these things by others, and I know them to be true. I’m a good writer, I have acting experience and training, I have decades of vocal experience and training. I have completed two years of a university level communications degree. But I have struggled with finishing what I start, all my life, and at times I have looked at my life, despaired, and imagined that it has had no significance or meaning.
I’m a fantasy baseball junkie. What could possibly be more meaningless than that? A game of the imagination, based on a game played by professionals that makes no contribution to world peace, or ending world hunger, or answering the questions we all look at the stars and ask. A game for children and an embarrassment when I consider the hours, days, weeks and years I have spent on it. Or so I thought.
In 1996 following an extreme depressive episode I tried to kill myself. That was the year I purchased my first Scoresheet Baseball team, and damn, I was good at it. I had built a killer team, but when I flushed my life down the toilet I could no longer afford to keep that team, and I was a mess in any event and simply not in a position to enjoy it, I dropped the team. I moved in with my sister at that time, and we have taken care of each other since, and she controls the t.v. I didn’t imagine she enjoyed watching sports, so I stopped watching and following sports.
Until 2019 when the Toronto Raptors made their championship run, and my sister and I watched all the games from about the middle of the second series, on. I discovered, much to my amazement that my sister enjoyed watching sports, so once the Raptors were done, we proceeded to watch the Blue Jays. My love for baseball was rekindled and before long I had picked up two Scoresheet teams. And what was odd was that it felt important. The fantasy baseball had always felt important, and I couldn’t for the life of me imagine how or why that could possibly be.
After I picked up my teams I realized that I had no idea what to look for in pitching. So based on a suggestion by my brother I developed a formula for rating pitchers. It was mind blowing how well it worked. I was excited, I was pumped, and I didn’t want to tell anyone about it. I wanted to keep it to myself because I felt like it gave me an advantage, but at the same time I felt an overwhelming urge to share this idea with others. And I didn’t know why. It’s a silly game, it’s meaningless, perhaps it’s my OCD speaking, why does it feel so important?
So I started to tell some people about it. I even submitted an article about it for publication to the prestigious Baseball Research Journal. They told me it was an interesting idea but in order for the article to be published it would need to be supported by a lot of statistical research, research I was simply not capable of doing. When I told my fellow fantasy baseball owners about it the reaction was not what I expected. They either didn’t understand what I was telling them, or they thought I was full of shit, but there were no repercussions, it was all friendly and fun, the way it should be.
And then today I understood at least part of the reason why the fantasy baseball was important, when I imagined it was anything but. There was a lesson I needed to learn. I had gifts, I had information I needed to pass on, and there was no reason for me to be afraid to do so. Most people would either not understand or would think I was full of shit. But there was someone, or perhaps more than one person, that needed to hear, or read, what I had to say, and I might never know who that person was, but it was something I needed to do. It would take courage, but there was no reason to be afraid, or reason to be disappointed when I didn’t get the reactions I expected.
The things I thought were so terribly important, weren’t, and some of the things I imagined were completely insignificant, actually were important, but I might never know which was which while I was alive, and I needed to be OK with that.