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Don't Forget Your Long Johns
by Dori Knight
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Donít Forget Your Long Johns
By Dori Knight

Where I come from, itís a crime to slam into people, and you certainly donít throw them on the ground and trample them because they have something that you want. In most civilized venues, this is called ďmuggingĒ and you go to jail for it. But add a football and season tickets to the equation, and you have the makings of a multi-million dollar contact sport.

Personally, I think they make football far too confusing. I donít know a half-back first-referee quarter-down from an outfield third-umpire inning-out. I donít understand it. Maybe Iím wrong, but the way I see it, no game is worth being clobbered by a gorilla in tight pants and shoulder pads. Thatís the stuff that nightmares are made of.

There came a day, however, that I happened to be crossing the living room during game time, and noticed it was snowing on television. Being a transplanted Yankee, living in the Deep South, I get my flurries where I can find them, so I sat with my husband to watch a minute or two.

The game was being played in Buffalo. Now, understand, you almost have to be a buffalo to survive an Upstate New York winter. But there, on my television screen, the Buffalo team was playing against my husbandís favorite southern team. In the snow.

The Buffalo team looked to be direct descendants of the Vikings, with frozen eyebrows and ruddy skin. They were born into this kind of weather. Even so, they were prepared for the cold, wrapped as they were in layers of long johns.

The southern team, on the other hand, sported short sleeves, their tanned arms contrasting dark against the icy white snow. How they expected to play in the snow without the proper clothing was beyond comprehension. They looked to be slowly but surely freezing to death on the playing field.

I might not know anything about football, but I know a good bit about the cold, and it is difficult to hold onto something when you are frozen solid. What that southern team needed was some warm, fuzzy mittens. Maybe their mommies should have knitted them some before they left home.

And while they were at it, their mommies could have packed fuzzy socks to wear on their little toes, so that they might run without slipping and sliding all over the place. Curiously, my comments had a quieting effect on my husband.

Surely he understood that I was only trying to be helpful. After all, anyone could see that the southern boys were shivering on the sidelines. It only followed that they needed some hot chicken soup to warm up their little tummies, however my soup comments made my husbandís teeth grind.

I didnít have time to determine why he was upset, though, because the Buffalo team got the ball again, and I was overcome with an urge to cheer. This didnít make my husband particularly happy either, especially when Buffalo ran through the southern defenses, like a plow through soft, fluffy snowdrifts, and I leaped from the couch, spilling popcorn everywhere, and began jumping up and down.

In all fairness, the southern team was really very good. In the south, they begin running drills in the womb, and throw their first football before they take their first step. Football is not a sport south of the Mason-Dixon, it is an art form; they werenít unskilled players, they were simply under dressed.

I donít really know how they would have trained for playing in a snowstorm, but it seems to me that someone should have thought to pack the long johns. Itís the same way with everything in life. It isnít enough to just show up. You wouldnít wear Bermuda shorts to a job interview, or a three-piece suit into battle, and you donít face life without your armor.

A lot of people are under the mistaken impression that once they become Christian, life will be a walk in the park, or a bright sunny day at the beach. There are sunny days, of course, but there are many cold stormy days as well. Like the players on the field, we all have our own personal gorillas that try to take our joy and stomp us into the dirt.

Christians donít have perfect lives, but we do have a loving Captain who is with us every step of the way, and a custom tailored suit of weatherproof armor that will get us through Ė all the way to the end zone.

I didnít really learn much about football that day, and chances are Iíll never watch another game. Iíll probably never know what a half-back first-referee quarter-down is, but thatís okay. In the end, the important thing to know is that life is the ultimate contact sport. Victory belongs to those who know how to stay away from the gorillas, and remember to wear their long johns.

Copyright 2004 Dori Knight


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