Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Arena Football in the Baghdad Super Bowl

Game in Overtime. . .

From where did this dream or fantasy come to me in my early morning waking hours? The only antecedent that comes to mind is Secretary of Defense Gates's optimism, as he recently strolled the streets of the Iraqi capitol like John McCain before him.
I found astonishing signs of normalcy. . . I'm talking about professional soccer leagues with real grass field stadiums, several amusement parks, big ones, markets that are very vibrant. . . . It's a very mixed picture. . . It remains to be seen where we'll be in September.
Anyways, in this dream, I was a reporter in a poorly-lit Baghdad Bowl arena football game. Even though this was the final championship game, there were many teams contending. Only one team was wearing helmets, pads and uniforms. (Yeah, it was tricolors, probably red, white and blue.) This game was extremely physical with injuries, even fatalities, on every play. This didn't seem to be a problem for the highly partisan, blood-thirsty crowd. And, as far as the teams were concerned, there were always a supply of fresh replacements. Even coaches were frequently replaced. Of course, referees were dutifully blowing their barely audible whistles on all infractions. However, the penalty yardage assessed was never material because other barely noticed hooded field officials were always capriciously moving the line of scrimmage, ten-yard marker and the goal posts. The score board was the most erratic feature in my nightmare. Scores for all four or five teams were constantly being adjusted. And the time remaining? It was always the same: 6 minutes months to go.

I, as the sports reporter, was waking in desperation as to what to compose for my morning column. Not only would this grim contest not end before my personal deadline, but neither were there a stable score or notable turning points in this interminable scrimmage to report. I was about to settle for a description of the physical beauty and architectural features of the stadium. I reached for my camera and snapped off a hurried panoramic shot of my surroundings just as my faithful and merciful Dobie awakened me with his imperious cold wet nose.

Was a new day dawning? Or, was he just telling me it was time to wake up and smell the coffee?