I took my three children to a Wednesday night Pee Wee football game a few weeks ago. It was not my son’s game night but we went to lend support to a team who was grieving. They had lost a member of their team unexpectedly and were trying to pick up the pieces and forge ahead the best that they could.
As we approached the field I saw that the boys had lined up for the singing of the National Anthem. Their bright Orange uniforms shone like the sun under the night lights. The announcer came on over the loud speaker asking for thirty seconds of silence in remembrance of their teammate, number 30. The beautiful thing about those thirty seconds is that there was total silence. We all know how tough it is to keep a group of 8-10 year old boys quiet but, they were. Lined up on the side line with their teams, heads bowed, hands at their sides. Silent.
When this moment had passed and the National Anthem had been sung, we (the parents) all began to move around wiping our eyes and noses, wishing we had brought tissues. They boys, true to form, began a game of pick-up football on the sidelines, taking a break now and again to cheer on their brothers in Orange. As I watched the game, I began to notice some things on the field that were a little different. The number 30 was painted in Orange and so was the 30 yard line, such a fitting tribute for a little boy who loved football.
The game itself was amazing. With every play you could see the determination and the focus of the team. They were going to bring this one home. The sidelines were equally thrilling, boys in all different colored jersey’s (which represented their team) cheering. Yes, I said eight to ten year old boys cheering, standing together, shouting and banging their feet on metal bleachers in an effort to root the Orange team on to victory.
The game went into overtime. I said that we were going to leave after about an hour as we had tests to study for etc. but that didn’t happen, we were there for the duration. This night taught more than any book ever could.
Orange scored and then it was the other teams turn to try to even it up. At that exact moment my four year old decided to pitch a fit about being hungry. He wanted nothing I brought; he only wanted the culinary delights from the snack bar, which was on the other side of the field. So we went. After picking some type of treat filled with red dye #2 we made our way back and that’s when I saw it. A play I will never forget. The quarter back from the other team was going for a pass (which they don’t do often in Pee Wee for obvious reasons). I saw the ball leave his hands and spiral through the air, it was an impressive throw. Then the slow motion kicked in and I stopped and waited. Out of a mass of dark uniforms a bright Orange jersey burst out and caught the ball. Interception. Game over. Victory Orange.
In a split second the field was a sea of Orange. The coaches sprinted from their posts, arms in the air, jumping up and down. They were bursting with excitement. The boys from the other teams that came that night rushed the field as well, surrounding their Orange brothers. In the midst of this dark night a rainbow appeared. It wasn’t the typical rainbow that you see after a storm, it consisted of different colored jerseys worn by little boys who were truly happy that this team, one of their competitors, won.
In the midst of all of the sadness and pain there was true joy that night. It was a night where I saw God in His truest form, through the eyes of children.
As we walked to the car, tired and exhilarated, I happened to look up at the night sky and see the moon. It was unlike any moon I had ever seen before and I nudged my oldest and pointed up. I watched his reaction as he looked in awe at the heavens. “Mom, there’s a rainbow around the moon.” We stood for a few minutes taking in this incredible site. He then looked at me and said “Michael saw the game Mom” and then got into the car.
That night I saw, that in the midst of tremendous pain, there was joy. There was celebration and there was some healing. I think that I need to start looking for more rainbows; they are appearing in the most unexpected places these days. Who knows, I may get lucky and see another rainbow around the moon.