"Oh, yes," I admitted. "I wished that Robin Roberts of the Phillies would fall down the steps of his stoop."
"Is there anything else?"
"Yes, I wished that Enos Slaughter of the Cards would break his ankle, that Phil Rizzuto of the Yanks would fracture a rib, and that Alvin Dark of the Giants would hurt his knee." But, I hastened to add, "I wished that all these injuries would go away once the baseball season ended."
Encouraged by the priest's silence, I proceeded to describe sneaking out of the house the previous February and the more macabre thoughts that had arisen since the train wreck, when my sinful thoughts had expanded to encompass a desire that the train carrying the Yankees to Boston would fail to stop at a signal. My scenario left no permanent injuries but put the entire team out of action for the year, so that the Dodgers could finally win their first World Series.
"But how would you feel knowing that the victory wasn't really deserved," the priest asked, "knowing that if your rivals had been healthy, your team might not have won? I promise you, it wouldn't feel anywhere near as good as if you won in the proper way. Now, let me tell you a secret: I love the Dodgers just as much as you do, but I believe they will win the World Series someday fairly and squarely. You don't need to wish harm on others to make it happen. Do you understand what I am saying?"
"Are there any other sins, my child?"
"For your penance, say two Hail Marys, three Our Fathers and," he added, with a chuckle, "say a special prayer for the Dodgers. Now say the Act of Contrition."
"Oh, my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins...." When I finished, the priest made the sign of the cross and murmured the official Latin words of forgiveness. I left the confessional that day buoyant, my soul spotless. My First Confession, received by a baseball-loving priest, had left me closer to my church than ever before.