A break in the clouds for a moment. A few shafts of sunlight make their way to the ground.
They light up the faces of these crazybrave young athletes, mixing it up in the mud.
A majestic sight... muscle, flesh, bone, sinew... coming together in both harmony and crunching, piercing, godless disharmony.
For the love of the game. For the love of community. For the love of our cruel and vengeful lord Jesus Christ.
This game is brutal.
"And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, 'Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?'" - Revelation 13
These young soldiers of light have but one purpose now...
They take this vessel, and they deliver it to it's destination.
The only thing stopping them is the sticky, slippery mud, their equally slippery opponents, and the will of the Dark Lord Satan.
The blood pumps madly through their veins, their saliva turns to searing acid in their mouths - their eyes burn white from the inside - but through the pain, they come one step closer to God.
What is this monstrous game?
This game of blood and spit and tears and sweat and mud and rain and grass?
What is this GAME OF MEN, and by what cruel act of Thor are these mere children playing at it?
It's Ultimate Frisbee. I'm at the State Youth Games, and I'm surrounded by approximately 10,000 well-intentioned Christian youths.
My man with the St. John's Ambulance people had initally not been very keen to have me tag along.
It went something like this....
Me: Can I spend a day with you first aid types at this christian youth sporting event?
That might have seemed like the end of it... but....
Me: Can I spend the afternoon with you first aid types at this christian youth sporting event?
Him: Okay, but you have to behave yourself.
Ahahahahahaha... Oh, you!
When I arrived at the St. John's van, some kid was having a bloodied knee attended to, and my man (whom we shall call Dave) was filling out an Incident Report form... An S28 or S23, or something.
I wasn't allowed to read it - not even upside down!
It was confidential, you see.
"What's the casualty count so far, hombre?" I asked, an eyebrow raised questioningly.
But there was nary a casualty to be seen.
Some Kid: "Um... someone's fallen down."
Dave: "Let's roll."
Okay, maybe he wasn't that dramatic.
The point is, this kid had taken a tumble in the mud, and had dislocated his knee.
Dave hurried back to the van, and attempted to remove the stretcher, for the purposes of carrying this young chap back to the van, if you follow.
The stretcher would not stand up. A second, wheel-less stretcher, was required.
Dave and a few strong young Christians carried Disclocated Boy (DB) back to the van.
DB: Oh, it hurts! It hurts!
Dave: DB, is it okay if I lift your leg to put this pillow under it?
DB: Argh... yes... owwwwww.
Dave: Okay, I'm lifting your leg.
Ice is applied.
Dave: Does it hurt more with the ice on, or with the ice off.
DB: Ice.... ... ... ice off.
Dave: On a pain scale of 1 to 10, 1 being no pain, and 10 being the worst pain you've ever felt, how do you rate this?
DB: Argghhh... 15!
His gaggle of friends laugh at this hilarious joke.
An ambulance is called, it will be delayed by the large car crash on the Old Highway between Warragul and Drouin.
One young Christian reassures him that the ambulance will be here soon, and he will be pumped full of drugs.
She makes the drugs point a number of other times.
She also suggests to someone else that all there is to do now is to hold his mouth and nose... It was an odd comment.
Some passing athletes ask me what the score is.
Me: Dislocated knee.
Them: Ouch! What church is he from, so we can pray for him.
Me: I don't know, I worship at the altar of obscure 80's New Wave outfit Gang Of Four.
They hurried away, muttering.
Then the ambulance arrived, asked him to rate his pain on a scale of 1 to 10, and pumped him full of morphine.
The St. Johns cats filled out their little forms, and sat back to bask in the glow of a job well done. The Games would be over for the day in a mere 30 minutes...
Someone hurries over: "Um... this guy has dislocated his knee."
And as Dave goes to leave, someone else: "We have a dislocated knee over here."
Our cruel and vengeful lord does not look kindly on Ultimate Frisbee, it would seem.