Just to inform those who have been distracted by such pittances as the impending collapse of our governmental system or a raging pandemic, a miracle happened yesterday. Loaves and fishes? Water to wine? Parting of the Red Sea? Trifles all.
Yesterday, December 7, 2020, a day that will live in infamy (in Pittsburgh,) the team previously known as a “Racial Slur,” felled the mighty Steelers. Such are the rocks upon which churches are built.
Football? Churches? Those who have read Joseph Nehemiah’s first and last novel, “Cosmic Casino: The True Word of A. Lester Lord,” know exactly what I’m talking about. Though a good shrink, Joseph was no Hemingway. His minor opus deservedly languishes in the trash bin of literature. It was not until he asked me on his deathbed to carry on his work, that, like the plucky “Washington Football Team,” his creative concept rose from the dead and soared in literary splendor in my sequels, “The Brief Long-Term Therapy of A. Lester Lord” and “Guitars of the Gods” The Redemption of A. Lester Lord.”
Like me, Joe was a football fan. In “Cosmic Casino,” he had Lester, former drummer in the Heavenly Band and God of Earth, explain why Football is the One True Faith.
According to Lester, it’s no coincidence that pro football games are played on Sunday. Football stadiums are modern cathedrals where multitudes of believers of different races, faiths and creeds gather and make a joyful sound proclaiming their allegiance to a higher power, their hometown pride. Football encompasses all the greatest aspects of the human animal ( which was, fortunately, not created in Lester’s image) and provides a panoply of huge, powerful demigods to be worshipped by us mere mortals. Physically, it requires strength, stamina, speed, power, agility, grace and precision. Mentally it requires the ability to recite, chapter and verse, the liturgy of the sacred play book. Like chess, it requires complex strategy. It is a model of community. Players work together toward their common goal. And of ethics, as the commandments of the game are adhered to by all. In cases where a player (for the flesh is weak,) commits a sin, he confesses, pays his penance and, purified, goes forth to play and sin no more. For football is a forgiving game, and only in extreme transgression is the offending player consigned to the purgatory of expulsion from the game. At the end of the service, the players who were pounding each other moments before, shake hands in an act of brotherhood and peace.
Ah, but you protest. Football is a violent, primitive sport beset by cranial injuries that render its participants invalids in their golden years. True. But are not all religions primitive? And unlike other, false, religions, it coerces no one to worship its gods. The game is a true calling, and though it is violent, the violence is controlled, devoid of intent to kill or maim. Can we say this about the Crusaders? Radical Islamic Terrorists? White supremacist, Christian militia groups? Nations have been decimated in the name of religion. Peoples have been slaughtered. For what? The conquerors didn’t even get a Super Bowl ring for their efforts. Violence is a big part of being human. How can it not be part of its religions?
Ah, you say, but football is just a sport, not a faith. OK. If it is not an act of faith how is it that millions of loyal “Washington Whatevers” fans have willfully endured suffering to which self-flagellation, donning a hair shirt, indeed the crucifixion, pale in comparison. Nothing can shake our faith in a team so holy, that, like the God of the Hebrews, its real name may not be uttered aloud. What care we that their eternal credo is to clutch defeat from the jaws of victory, or their decades long near perfect record of not making to the post-season? What care we that their tyrannical owner sullies their image by playing golf with Donald Trump? If this is not faith, what is?
In the twilight of my life I wandered through a wilderness along the road to DC and arrived at what may well become my final resting place. I am a stranger in a strange land beyond the beltway from which we watch in helpless awe the pandemonium across the Potomac. Here we rend our garments and cover ourselves in sackcloth and ashes as the great and noble experiment of democracy struggles to survive within the gleaming temples of our national edifices. On the road to Virginia, was I struck blind, but yet mine eyes were opened. In this wondrous land my heart gladdens when my childhood heroes, the Philadelphia Eagles, are defeated by the Green Bay Packers. I scorn the Giants of my former home state as they sit, undeserving, upon the pinnacle of the same divisional sand dune beside my beloved “Washington Whatchamacallits.” Here, like so many in my adopted home, I, seemingly foolishly, consigned myself to seek redemption through the grace of the most humble among teams.
Yesterday my prayers were answered. For one day at least, the last have gone first. For one day at least, ours is the Kingdom. Hail to the (insert name suggestion here.) I am saved. For, behold!, on this day I have witnessed a miracle.