Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: EMBARRASS(ED) (11/03/16)
TITLE: Lesson from the Stadium
By Cindy Mosley
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Kris Jones was among the fans sitting on the home side of the stadium. Kris had a phobia of sitting in the bleachers. He avoided bleachers after watching a documentary about engineering disasters when he was seven years old. The now sixteen year old high school sophomore rarely missed a home game and usually stood at the fence that provided a barrier to keep fans from invading the football field.
Tonight Kris was joined at the fence by a local youth pastor, Eli Phillips. Eli had noticed Kris standing alone at the fence during every home game and wanted to find out why standing at the fence was better than sitting in the bleachers with friends.
“Hey, Kris” Eli said as he reached the fence.
“Hey, Eli,” Kris responded with a quick glance before returning his attention to the game.
After a few minutes of watching the game in silence, Eli asked, “Kris, do you want to come sit with me in the bleachers?”
“No, I’m good.” Kris answered without taking his eyes off the game.
“Can I ask you a personal question?” Eli inquired.
“Sure.” Kris knew what was coming next. He had often been approached at the games about standing at the fence instead of sitting in the bleachers.
“Why do you always stand at the fence, but not sit in the bleachers?
“I knew you were going to ask me that.” Kris sighed as he turned to face Eli. “Come with me. I want to show you something.” Kris began walking toward the open area under the bleachers. “Years ago, when I was down here, I saw something that bothered me. No one will listen to me about my concerns for the strength of the foundation of this stadium. The superintendent and the city inspector tells me the stadium’s foundation is solid and I have nothing to worry about.” Kris explained as they stopped in front of a section under the bleachers that was dimly lit by the stadium lights.
Kris took out his cell phone, turning on the spotlight. He pointed the light to a section of joists that appeared to be part of the original structure. They were faded wooden beams that had endured years of use and various weather conditions. The faded brown wood appeared to be in place and strong, but Kris showed Eli several places where the wood had retained water near the base of the beams. “I think that if there is enough weight up there,” pointing at the seating above the beams, “the beams will collapse and people are going to be hurt or killed.”
Eli pushed on a post and looked at Kris, “I understand your concern, but I think you are letting fear keep you from enjoying yourself. It seems pretty solid to me. And look at these steel replacements that are over there. What makes you think this isn’t safe?” Eli pointed to a steel structure a few feet behind Kris.
Kris slowly turned toward the steel structure, blinked, and gaped. He opened and closed mouth several times and cleared his throat, “Oh. I didn’t know this was here,” he croaked.
Eli patted Kris on the back and smiled, “Do you still want to stand at the fence or do you want to join me in the bleachers?”
“I think I will just go home,” Kris answered, brushed passed Eli and stomped toward the exit. “I can’t believe I didn’t see those steel beams just a few feet away from those wooden ones,” Kris thought climbing into the driver seat of his dad’s truck. He started the engine and then tapped his head on the steering wheel. “I bet people think I am stupid. I’ve stood at that fence for two years like an idiot,” he growled and headed for home.
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