Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Football is a Wicked Mistress

She's heartless and cruel. She's cold. But you will do anything to have her glance your way.

Men will pay high prices to be able to dance with her. They will give every ounce of their effort, they will train, run, strain, sweat, battle, spend, sacrifice; they will forsake all. Some will cheat. They want just to be in that dance.

Men will surround their lives around her beauty. They will talk about her, they will write about her, they will stand up for her, they will stop at nothing, they will defend her honor. Except that she will not defend theirs; no, she will ruthlessly use theirs up, and when they are fallen on the battlefield, she will cast it aside, and then stoically move on to another.

Though you see that she has done such a thing in the past, yet with every new year, you get your hopes up again, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.

You think that you are not a fool. You see great reasons for hope. You are charmed by this ray of light, by that glimmer of sunshine and stare willingly into it until you have blinded yourself and have conveniently forgotten the shattering pain from last year.

And then you start convincing yourself all over again, as you watch her move, that this is the year, this is the season that it will all come true. You see things about her that justify your belief. You are surprised and delighted when things go well, for they confirm what you now know to be true about her, that she loves you and that this time, she will be faithful to you.

You start to see the stars lining up, things are falling in place, yes, she loves you indeed and you will dance together a dance that will be written up for the ages. You are smitten.

This certainly is the year; you know it. You begin investing your heart into her. You hand her your emotions and she rewards you with a wink. You tell her how you believe in her and she takes a step your way. You show her your loyalty, your faithfulness, your fealty and she lets you stand in her shadow.

You share with others how it is real and true, and then she lets you see her smile. Indeed it is the most beautiful of smiles; there are none others that compare. You know that she is smiling at you, that she will reward your loyalty and admiration.

And then she promises you the dance. Or did she? Perhaps she did not speak it, perhaps it was only inside your head. Perhaps you only thought it, but it must have passed from her lips; you are not sure. But however it occurred, you somehow knew that you would be that most fortunate one, that of all the other guys, you alone would be the one that she would be dancing with forever.

You walk on the clouds over toward her, closer to her promising, out-stretched hand. You are beaming with pride, knowing that you are the envy of all the rest, some who have fallen, others who have been eliminated and still others who have all but given up.

You reach for her hand and it is then in your grasp, at last! It is softer than you had imagined, lighter than you had dreamed. You are thrilled like never before. You have believed, you have been faithful and it is all about to happen, this beautiful mistress will finally be yours and yours alone!

The music begins to play, you reach to draw her closer, to draw her to yourself, to begin the dance. But she doesn't budge, she doesn't let herself be pulled into toward you. It is only then that you see that she also has, in her other hand, the hand of another pursuer! You are in disbelief! You cannot understand how she could give in to your wooings and yet be attached to another.

With the next beat of the music, and painful beat of your heart, she rips her hand out of yours, spins away and begins dancing with the other suitor.

You see her out there with him, fully engaged, throwing her head back in laughter, thrilled to be in his arms but she never even glances back your way.

You are crushed; again. How could you be such a fool, you ask yourself. It is terrible, you are in agony. You are sick to your stomach, much worse than last year.

As for him, you don't even give him a look; he's nobody, he doesn't matter. It was her you were after, it was she you believed in, it was you both together that you wanted and it would have happened, if only....

Yes, football is a wicked mistress. She's heartless, and cruel. She's so very, very cold.

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