My name is Michael Paza, and in addition to being the catcher for the University of California Berkeley’s Golden Bears, I am a proud survivor of self-diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder, brought on by encountering several people who said things that I didn’t agree with. Ever since baseball season started up again this year, I have found that my safe space is being invaded nearly every weekend by intruders seeking to marginalize me with their toxic presences. The fact that my safe space happens to be home plate is completely irrelevant; other players have NO RIGHT to raid MY safe space.
*TRIGGER WARNING: The following story includes multiple people who disagreed with one of my opinions. I highly recommend that anyone who finds the idea of someone disagreeing with them as stressful as I do to STOP READING IMMEDIATELY. *
From the moment I walk onto the diamond, I immediately notice just how much every player and coach wants to marginalize me. While everyone else, from the pitcher to the outfielders, gets to stands tall and proud, I have to squat. Squatting is the most submissive pose that an animal can make, and I am forced into this position every time we’re on defense; even dogs look embarrassed when they squat to make a poo, so just imagine how mortified I feel having to do it in front of two teams and an entire crowd of onlookers.
I tried to bring up this humiliation to my coach, explaining to him about my very justified and definitely not overly-emotional trauma triggered by squatting on a baseball field, but he just patted my shoulder and mansplained to me that I had to squat in order to safely catch the pitch, telling me that I am “making a big deal out of something small.” Naturally, I was offended and furious at the complete lack of support I was getting from a UC Berkeley employee, but when I tried to rally my team to stage a walk-out, they just frowned at me confusedly and told me that it “wasn’t a big deal.” Not a big deal. I had that phrase thrown in my face twice in the same day, an obvious joint attempt by everyone to mock me for looking so small—i.e. not a big deal like a real person—while squatting during our games.
The umpires are no help either. It never surprises me, of course; authority figures are always, always trying to tear down the safe spaces of the disenfranchised. Even so, their lack of concern for “the little guy” is truly indicative of the societal inequalities between the victims (myself) and the aggressors (literally everyone who is not me) in the game. For example, I have never seen an umpire attempt to place his or her body in the way of someone rounding third and heading towards home plate. Not. Even. Once. They even have the gall to declare my home plate “safe” or “out.” Their language is clear, with no room to misinterpret: by labeling my safe space as “safe,” the umpires are trying to take all safe-space-labeling agency away from me. Also, they’re trying to “out” me without my consent.
You must realize by now how important it is to keep my safe space protected from invaders. No one besides myself should EVER approach home plate. I am entitled to the right to sequester myself from reality and not be forced to confront my inferiority complex.