Friday, December 02, 2005

Six-Man World Peace

Lima-Belfry Prayer
Originally uploaded by mdt1960.
Sunday 13 October 2002

When I woke up this morning to my clock-radio and the news about the car bomb blast in Bali that claimed over 180 lives, the first thing that went through my mind wasn’t the innocent people that were lost, and it wasn’t about what is so wrong with this world. Rather, I thought about the innocence and euphoria of yesterday—standing on the sidelines in the scenic surroundings of Lima, Montana, watching a classic small town, high school, six-man football game between the Lima Bears and the Belfry Bats. I considered how much better off the world would be if everyone in it could have joined me in Lima somehow without loosing that small town atmosphere of the day.

Funny as it may sound, but there are days like today when I truly believe that the deliverer of world peace is a six-man or eight-man football game nestled in some by-passed Montana town like Lima, Centerville or Rosebud.

Perhaps all I’m talking about here are the simple joyous moments one can sense in these small town football games. For example, even after their team was soundly defeated by Belfry yesterday, the home town crowd of Lima (pop. 242) applauded when the game ended. I suspect they weren’t simply applauding for their team, but on a sub-conscience level perhaps they were acknowledging this magical event they had just witnessed—set on a glorious, warm autumn afternoon with the Beaverhead Mountains of the Continental Divide serving as a backdrop to the gridiron.

And if that didn’t give one hope for some kind of universal harmony then perhaps it was the two teams kneeling together midfield after the game, giving thanks for the day and its injury-free outcome. Upon the completion of a victorious match, the Belfry players always invite their defeated opponents to kneel with them in the middle of the field to offer up thanks. On the surface it appears this act is nothing more than a gesture of good sportsmanship, but after the news of this morning I’m certain there is something much deeper there. Sometimes the players from the other team are a bit puzzled at first, but once they understand, the look of defeat leaves their faces and for that moment under the bright Montana sky, in the stillness and near silence, a single voice rises above this gathering of opposing teams, and all is right with the world.

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