Oxford is a literary town, so I took a crack. Had a great time at the game. RTR
The sun went down behind the alabaster upper deck, as it had on the gridiron prowess decades ago, draping the skyboxes and their occupants in shadow, a vision as stoic, and heroic, and hopeless, as the symbols they so obstinately cherished, so vehemently decried in their modern-day fire-eating, anonymously, digitally.
These were not rebels, but relics, painfully reminded with each back-breaking, will-sapping touchdown from their sister state's flagship, from a place just as archetypically sun-kissed and God-breathed as this once-hallowed ground, where the remnants of bygone glories were every bit as revered, the whiskey-tinged potential for individual greatness (overpowered, tragically, and inevitably, by the inexorable call of the herd instinct) every bit as prevalent, the pageant-worthy daddy's girls every bit as vapid and alluring and unapproachable.
This cold-water shock, again and again and again, 24, then 31, 38, 45, 52 -- as though sobering up the village drunk -- sent a message that could no longer be mistaken or ignored. As the denizens filtered out, feet shuffling, cursing their own resignation, the echo could be heard, fewer and fewer loyalists behind, an ever shrinking body, a doomed Confederate regiment withered from the heights, to absorb the acoustic force, a force as hard and unforgiving as the concrete skeleton of the stadium itself. "Ala." It was a disembodied roar, surely not emanating from the crimson-clad pilgrims relegated to upper decks and end-zone bleachers, but from the earth itself. And then, a hundred yards away, the answer: "Bama." It was an incantation, an exultation, invitation and proclamation: Live not only in those grainy images and faded memories, but in this moment, this "here" and this "now."
From his seat, the helmets looked like droplets of blood, pooling, dispersing, aligning in a watchmaker's synchronicity. The blue shirts retreated, again, the collisions wounding their souls far more than their bodies. Their bodies would heal. He put his arm on the navy chairback, its cursive red letters yet one more relic ceding its loyalties, and drew his daughter closer in the chilling night. There would be more striving, and more perfection in the striving.