Todays post has no real reason.
Well, I am quite proud of my son, and of his friends. Perhaps I want to share that.
Maybe I just want to remember the story one day. Not look through the mists of memory and try to recollect but to look back at how it was in my head when I sat down to write.
A snapshot of time, as it were.
Low hanging grey clouds skittered and swirled across the sky as far as the eye could see. The trees around the field had lost their leaves to the rapidly oncoming Wisconsin winter weeks ago. Standing in the muddy yellowed grass a group of people slowly split into two groups.
One group numbered about dozen teens in jerseys and sweat pants, with a few parents upon the sideline. The adults opened folding chairs and sat down to watch the coming game. The teens gathered about their coach, listening to the game plan as they tightened their cleats and made sure the red flag belts were firmly in place.
On the other side of the field there was as different from the first as night is from day. It was not that the parents preferred to stand, or simply had no chairs. It was not the players, as they tightened their blue belts and bantered back and forth. It was not the coach that held no clipboard and looked like he was a player himself not too long ago. The difference was there were only five players.
Five standing, waiting, for a game that calls for seven to a side.
Waiting to play the last game of the season.
Standing in the middle of the field was a young man in a striped shirt, the referee for the game. He stood tossing the football to himself and catching it, pausing from time to time to check his watch. After a time he beckoned the teams and coaches over, a look of resignation on his face.
When they had gathered together at midfield he did not pull out a coin to toss for the starting advantage. Instead he looked sadly at the team in blue and told them that we had waited long enough. The game calls for seven, you don’t have the players. You forfeit the game to the red team.
As the coaches turned around and started to walk away though a surprising thing happened. A player from the blue team asked a simple question.
“If we forfeit we lose, they win, right?”
“Yes.” said the referee, a puzzled look on his face.
A glance back at the others, a nodding of heads, and the boy spoke again.
“If they are going to beat us, they’re going to earn it. We’ll came here to play.”
Not a word came from them when the other side chose to field the full seven, thats simply how the game was played.
Not a complaint was voiced as the red team rotated in players, always with a fresh crew.
Not a whimper was heard when their desperate defense simply could not keep them from marching down and scoring.
Not even when it happened over and over again.
At the end of the game they lined up in the middle of the field, the five that had never left. They were tired, sore, and caked with mud. They had just lost by over sixty points, they should have been crushed.
Funny thing about that though, they were smiling as they walked through the line high-fiving their opponents and saying “Good game.”
It was the red team that walked through slowly, almost looking like they didn’t want to be there.
I wonder who really won.