Unsolicited Message From a Younger Version of Myself
Alright, maybe I’ll listen this time
Have you ever been in a place you thought you’d never be again?
One that reminds you of you a hundred lifetimes ago?
One that sends you a message that makes you question a key factor in your life?
That’s what happened to me Saturday night at a ballpark. I had quit going to games at least a decade ago. It wasn’t the game that made me think of never returning, but my own personal narrative.
It was a very basic etching that caught my attention somewhere in the seventh inning, as the home team was tying the game from 6–2 to 6–6. However, it would flip my mind for the next 24 hours.
Growing up, I breathed baseball. While most girls around me were obsessed with Justin (*NSync) or Nick (Back Street Boys), I was obsessed with a baseball player named Jason Kendall.
I lived for the season, knew every stat, dropped everything to watch the game, and listened to both pre-and post-games. I was at every single game I could beg my parents to take me to. I saved up allowance to afford the nose bleeds in the stadium.
I kept a scrapbook one season of any news clippings I could get my hand on. Especially the ones that had either Kendall (18) or the backup catcher Osik (15).
I was also a very hopeful, optimistic girl. I believed anything could happen. I believed good things were on their way.
Twenty years late, I don’t watch baseball. I might listen to it if my husband has it on the radio or TV. I don’t seek it out though. I also don’t believe in miracles, at least not the way I did back then.
I was doubtful the Pirates could pull it off. They were down by 4. However, as they were beginning to pick up their pace, I saw the etching into the banister. One simple word with no further explanation.
I saw a hundred photos of a younger me flash before my eyes: Me in my Kendall jersey I bought at Ames (an early 2000s department store) for $5 once he was traded. Listening to a ballgame and organizing my books or cleaning my room. Thinking intently about what I wanted to accomplish during the next school year. Creating signs that say I love Kendall, will you marry me (Yes, I was 12 at the time. Yes, as a grown-up I know that there are legalities against that. However, I didn’t really care at the time).
I’m still trying to make sense of it. Was it as simple as an invitation to let the old fan come back? Was it a sign that it was time to invite a small part of me back? Or was it a sign of something greater- like inviting the self and belief in the universe that I had at 12 to come back?
I didn’t ask for the message. However, when the universe sends you a message, it’s hard to ignore. Especially when it’s specific.
It’s those moments that make you question what your younger self has to say to you, if only you were willing to connect.