Ode to Football

Song Of The Day

Today’s song of the day is from Queen, We Are The Champions. It’s the only song fit for this blog. A classic, loved by all. Enjoy.

That’s Why We Play The Game

Last night’s college football championship game between the undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide, perhaps the greatest college team ever assembled, and the the underdog Clemson Tigers, was probably the greatest championship game ever played. There were so many massive momentum changes that I nearly had to dial 9-1-1 due to the intense emotional whiplash I endured. What a great rematch game – the heavy favorites avenged by last year’s loser of the same match; and well worth the yearlong wait.

Boy, what a great game football is – the greatest game of strategy, will, and teamwork ever conceived.

The Tigers defeated the “unbeatable” Crimson Tide on a last second touchdown with 1 second remaining. It was a gutsy play call by an incredible coach, because if the play failed, it was likely that time would have expired and they wouldn’t have been able to kick the game-tying field goal to send the game into overtime. A hell of a game. So much so, that it inspired me to write this poem about the game below.

 

Ode to Football
(The Greatest Game Ever)

I have seen the impossible,
Davids crushing Goliaths,
without swords or slings,
merely spirit, will, and belief;
miracles wrapped in pigskin leather.

The destiny of sheer determination
violently confronted by opposing heroics,
intent on changing that fate.

Terse crushing sounds,
morbid helmets clashing,
unquieted pain forgotten;
a contest of muscle and grit
to overcome opposing will.

Sweat flying in a cloud of rain,
over-sized linemen clawing,
pulling for positional advantage;
an orchestra of physical perfection,
dying for inches,
selfless sacrifice.

I have seen the elegance of athleticism
defy gravity and mass,
leaping to the skies,
to pluck an arching bullet,
with nothing more than
fingerprints and nails.

I have seen eleven brothers
brutally suffocate the hope of men,
leaving nothing more than despair
in their wake.
And yet,  
in the darkest hour of the night,
these same men, 
who stood at the gates of extinction,
rise up,
clawing back to life,
refusing to die or go quietly,
resuscitated by a common ideal –
love of each other
and the shared pursuit of greatness.

I have heard the roar of the crowd,
as high-kicking muscle accelerates instantly,
from zero to touchdown,
in the blink of an eye,
quieting ruckus thunder-domes
with perfect silence.

I have seen grown men cry,
not from the unimaginable pain
of tearing muscle,
or breaking bone,
or ligaments torn,
dampened by sweat and fatigue,
but by the cruel bitterness
of unforgiving defeat.

I have seen accomplished generals
dishearten entire opposing armies
with the thrust of a single hand.

And I have witnessed
grand chess-masters
wither at the unlucky hand
of misfortune.

All of it, 
to alter the fate of two numbers
that define our collective value,
if only for a moment,
yet forever etched in stone;
an eternal monument to the glory
of the men who stepped onto the battlefield,
giving everything that defines them,
leaving everything that drives them,
to hoist a metal treasure –
without value –
but worth infinitely more than that:
to be called,
collectively,
Champions.

Is it merely a game?
Or does it expose who we truly are,
like thick sweat,
bleeding from our pores,
reminding us,
there is something more
within each of us.

Ode to Football.
May you live
as long as we have breath.