Before the week’s over, I’ve decided I must try to put down in words just how profoundly moving this past Saturday and the championship game was. It’s an impossible task. No matter what I write, I end up deleting and beginning again. Words fail me. Poetry was what it was, and what it needs to be. Accompanied with music. With secret notes and chords that only heartbeats can create – a community of them pounding and tripping together in a giant cacophony of joy and thanksgiving. That’s what I need.
But all I can provide is a collage of images — images spliced and woven and blended into snapshots of prose.
I’ll begin with the Send Off, the team spilling out of a decades-old field house built of brick and mortar — and hopes and dreams, faith and sacrifice, sweat/blood/tears, hard work and long hours — and onto three chartered buses headed for the Georgia Dome. The morning was cold — cold like Packers’ fan cold (at least in my temperate Southern soul, I feel like it was). Family and friends puffed misty breaths and wiped misty eyes as they saw their fellas off. A drone buzzed overhead. Blue lights flashed, sirens whooped and horns answered.
And our team rolled out of the drive and into their destiny.
Next, a caravan of coaches’ wives saddled up and snaked down I 75 in pursuit. And not just wives. Whole families of Canes, with uncles and cousins. Newborns wrapped in swaddles; toddlers strapped in car seats; in-laws riding shotgun. We stopped for a fast-food lunch and an impromptu hair painting session about five miles from our destination. Purple hair was chalked enthusiastically into brunette, blonde, and ebony locks, alike. We wives wear our war paint with a difference.
We arrived in a rush of purple and gold — the cold air driving us into the Dome in waves. Security stations clogged and cleared; corridors and vestibules clumped and pooled at restrooms and concession stands.
But once we finally found our way through the maze of masses, we spilled into a vast pulsing chamber, charged with the butterflies and beating hearts of teenage boys and full grown men. Above us, the webbed Dome with its striped steel arteries. Below us, the green field with its striped, segmented planes. This was the stage where truths are told. Where legends unfold.
I spied my husband in the visitor’s tunnel. Instantly, my belly felt fizzy and my eyes blurred with love and pride. I was so nervous I could puke.
Once the game was underway, though, I felt better. Kickoff calmed my jitters.
What followed was a three-hour exercise in purple and gold dominance. Touchdowns tumbled into our hands. Forced fumbles fell at our feet. Our opponents, known for their run game built on the shoulders of beast mode running backs, met a defensive front far stronger than any they’d encountered before, smashing their feeble attempts at smash-mouth football. By the time the clock was run down and the championship sewn up, the scoreboard glowed 58-7.
“We did it.”
That was the text my husband sent me from the box. The text that caused my breath to snag and my heart to hiccup. I love that man. As in, super very much a lot. I didn’t know it was possible to love with a love like ours. And so, to know that this man’s wildest football dream had just come true. That it had just swept into our universe on a perfect storm of Hurricane proportions, left me breathless. Left me teary. Left me humbled.
How did I ever get so lucky?
Heaven has been generous to us this year. Blessings abound in merry measure. Some have been spiritual abstractions — answered prayers that heal the soul and open the heart. Others have solidified into physical manifestations – like Dome appearances and championship trophies. All have been glorious.
Remember that secret chord of heartbeats I mentioned before — a whole community of them pounding and tripping together in a giant cacophony of joy and thanksgiving? Well, I hear there is a secret chord, that David played and it pleased the Lord…
But you don’t really care for music, do ya?
Well it goes like this, the fourth and fifth, the minor fall and the major lift, the baffled wife composes hallelujah…
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.