It was totally inappropriate, but important and a must at the time. Now, it seems it couldn’t have been foregone, but what is the use in musing.
Under a swollen moon that had set the tone for a week full of surprise and many convincing arguments for demise, the people gathered for the game. Not only here, but everywhere, football fans climbed into the bleachers under the Friday night lights to make memories that will last a great while. The kids on the field had practiced and prayed, the Moms in the kitchen were ready to serve and the cheerleaders hopped around with spirit, trying to defeat the penetrating cold.
Armed with a sub par camera and a leaky pen, it was a relief the Farmers brought it, scoring a ton of points and giving ample opportunities to shoot the moment that would be recorded in words sometime before midnight. It was a first, it was a risk, sorting through vaguely familiar terms like yards, interception, two point conversion and sack. It was so different, impossible to indulge because the big picture seemed so clear under the glowing purple blue sky.
The third quarter offered little. The teams marched up and down the field to no avail. Leaning against one of the many tractors surrounding the only field not used to grow potatoes for miles, the vantage point had gone unchanged from the halftime show. While the teams disappeared to discuss strategy, the undefeated Sargent youth footballers were introduced at center field. The crowd went wild when each athlete turned into a black and yellow blur racing out at the sound of his name. The crowd, however, couldn’t beat the undercover rally squad that had taken to the sideline.
It was a fluctuating crew. They moved so quickly from the bleachers to the sideline and back again to consult Mom, ask something from Dad or locate a sibling they might have been told to watch over. They were still riding the adrenaline rush from cheering with the actual cheerleaders in front of everybody. The little girls knew how to chant in unison, wave a pompom and their spirit, like their counterparts record, was undefeated.
Standing there while the minutes ticked away into the last quarter of the game that would give way to a royalty crowning and a night that would steal another grain of innocence, the little girls cheered. They cheered regardless of the lack of action on the field. They cheered in t-shirts that were somehow strong enough to shield them from the cold. They cheered like no one was watching yet hoping someone was, and would tell them they did a good job.
It was hard not to think about the future of those little boys on the field and those little girls on the sideline. The week was full of such sad and sobering news. It was appropriate to wonder what would become of these youngsters. Will they be pretty? Will they be rich? What will they choose and what will be ordered? What will be waiting for them in a world overcome with crime, death, destruction, greed, ignorance, pain, anger and entitlement? How will they handle the foolish search for perfection set forth in this nation and the cruel words that await both success and mistake?
The fourth quarter stole the thoughtful moment away with an almost immediate touchdown and a reason to move from the post. There were more important things to get on with – things that just couldn’t have been foregone – that left no room for musing.