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Of Pride and Passion

There are games we play

and there is passion  

It is perhaps America’s pastime

that merely passes the time

until the tumble of Autumn leaves

ushers in the rumble of the band

the roar of the crowd

and that first whistle blast  

It is more than mere game  

It is the beating

of our collective hearts

the blood pouring through veins

and spilling on sacred soil

and the breath of life

that enjoins and divides

families friends and foes

into one shimmering cathedral  

The stadium lights and Friday night

sights sounds and smells  

A confluence of pure harmony

sweetly singing the melodies of our time  

Drifting past cities and towns

factories and farms

flowing downstream in a single chord

of harmonious rhythm   

It is pure  

It is passion  

It is football  

Hidden deep within the confines

of locker rooms and huddles

and the sweat pouring

from pounding iron and colliding pads

there lies an intricately woven bond

that bands boys into men

and brothers forever  

Traditions passed down

from one generation to the next

not merely handed out

but emblems and stripes

earned in the gruesome trenches

of a controlled and contrived violence

that is not for all

It was neither manufactured nor planned

this passion lain meticulously across our land  

As with art

it was bought and paid

with sweat and with tears

and evolved from the raw essence

and purity of pride  

A game no less

of cowhide and lace

and fearless warriors

facing off in a grueling grind

to claim their own

that sacred space   

Not of hoisting shiny trophies

nor medals nor any grand accolades  

These battles are fought and won

and lost

in the trenches of time

that neither time

nor dimming lights may erase  

It is rather the mettle to move on

and to rise

to rise above the dust

and mud smeared

across the face

of one’s fiercest foe  

And when at last

the echo of that final whistle

has blown

to offer a hand of embrace

and to know this was no race

It was pure  

It was passion  

It is football

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