Okay, all nine levels of Hell have frozen over; I know this because I wrote about sports.
I joined a writer’s group in Toronto. They meet once a month, and for each meeting we are given an assignment. This month, it was “sports and spirituality”. I believe the group leaders knew what they were doing, because the second sentence in their e-mail said, “STOP WHINING!”. Funny people.
There were several people who wrote about matches between Jesus and some other dudes. I figured this would be the norm, and briefly debated doing something similar before I realised I have no bloody clue as to how one might describe a sports game. I realised I know absolutely nothing about sports (other than how to avoid them at all costs). My last voluntary contact with sports was when I was an infant, and my dad taught me how to cheer every time Frank Mahovlich scored a goal.
This is what I wrote:
Psalm for Frank Mahovlich
The Big M, probasti
You have searched me and you know me; you know my getting up and my lying down; you understand my thoughts from afar.
You are with me when I walk and when I sleep;
you know everything I do.
Before I think a word, you know what I will say.
You are in front of me and behind me; your hand is on my shoulder.
Your eyes see who I really am, and even see my faults.
Such things are too wonderful for me; I am not worthy.
How I love the things you say to me; O, how awesome they are.
Will you not slay the wicked, Frank;
make the blood-thirsty man go away from me?
Test me, #27, and see if my heart is true;
test me and make sure I am not lying.
Look carefully, and you will see there is nothing bad about me;
lead me in the way everlasting.
Those who need a god’s help will light candles and spend hours on their knees in front of an altar. Soldiers marching into battle say desperate prayers to their god. Those sacrificing themselves give thanks.
This is my letter of thanks to you.
When my husband (it is a vile piece of paper which made him such) hung a poster of you – in your bright red uniform, of course – above our bed, I was a little hesitant. Naturally, I kept my mouth shut; your image was not worth a backhand across the face. But, that night, I was glad he turned me face-down to do those things to me, so I did not have to see you watching us. When he fell asleep, I pulled up the white eyelet sheet and glanced at you. A moonbeam fell across your face, and you smiled benevolently. I knew you were my Saviour.
I know you can see the things he does to me. I know you can see that I do not like it, that I would not do those things to anyone else. You can see me considering him as I vacuum and scour and sweep and dust. You can see me picking up the fallen petals from underneath the fresh flowers so the mess will not anger him.
No, I cannot wish him harm; you would never do such a thing. You do not harm people; you follow the rules, play the game properly. You would not raise a stick or a fist against anyone.
When he leaves for work in the mornings, you watch over me as I smooth the covers on the bed and light the candle (unscented, so the odour will not be obvious when he returns home). You gaze at me as I offer prayers to you. You forgive my sins. You protect my soul. You never demand more.
So, this is my gift, my sacrifice to you. Take me to the everlasting.
On this bed, this desecrated altar where the Pagan has blasphemed before your image, I offer myself to you. I have not deserved your gifts, your kindness, your warmth. With this knife and one quick, deep, unflinching slash across my throat, I return all the things you have given me.