Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Moving the ball downfield (To the Ends of the Earth)

I’m not a “fan” in the strictest sense, but I do love to watch a good game of football. I also enjoy watching a good soccer match. When both of these sports are distilled down, their basic objectives are to: Keep the ball away from the other guys, move the ball down field, and get the ball across the goal line. No worries, right? Wrong. There’s a small catch all of this; depending on the game, there’ll be anywhere from eleven hundred pounds on up to a ton and a half of humanity between you and that goal line.

This seems to paint gridiron football and soccer in a fairly futile light, and I’m sure there’re plenty who’ve drawn this conclusion. Here’s where we draw the distinction between well-played football/soccer and “magnet ball”. In magnet ball an individual is under the frantic pursuit of eleven kids, each having their own idea on how to get the ball. In a well-orchestrated game of ball, one team works in concert while an opposing team, also in concert, attempts to staunch the progress of their opponent. When the truth is told, its not eleven vs. one, its one vs. one. The team with the best grip on this fact will likely be the ones with the Super Bowl rings, or the ones drinking Warsteiner out of “die welt cup” at the end of the season.

Now how about this; what if the typical ball team operated like the typical parish? (Katie bar the door ‘cause its gonna get warm in here…) Segments of the team wouldn’t speak to the other segments. A contingent would sit on the bench, bellyaching about the current coach, and pining for a previous one. There would be stories of how half the team walked off the field when there was a change to the Jerseys. In the midst of this, the ball never advances down field, the team gets monkey-stomped by their adversary, and ultimately, the team is dismissed as being irrelevant.

The allusion may seem preposterous at first, but think it through. Can we move the Kingdom downfield if our BVD’s are in a bunch because someone took “our” parking spot? Can we run the plays that have been called in from above if we’re not in one spirit?

Like in football, the clock is running. Unlike football, there are no timeouts.

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