I sat in a stadium, larger than the Coliseum. Super Bowl 2021.
I saw the flags of every nation encircling the rim of the stadium. At one end flew the Olympic flag; at the other, the flag of the United Nations.
The stands were packed with people from all nations, festooned in native garb. Vendors hawked cuisine from every continent.
A gong rang. Drums rolled. Trumpets blew.
I looked for the presentation of the colors by each branch of the military.
Instead, another kind of battalion strode onto the field. A company of nurses. A company of doctors. A company of EMTs. A company of scientists. A company of custodians. A company of bus drivers. A company of police. A company of grocery clerks. A company of school teachers. From every nation.
Spectators leapt to their feet, waving and cheering.
I looked for the military flyover.
Instead, three cargo planes lumbered overhead: one bore the UN insignia, another the Red Cross, another the Red Crescent.
A choir of children assembled.
We all sang in our native tongues: We Are the World. (We are the children.)
No one ordered it. It just happened. It went on and on. (No one was keeping time.)
Two people hugged. Two more and two more. A wave began, waves of hugs rippled across the field and through the stands.
And then the battalion began walking off. The stadium rocked with applause.
The teams trotted onto the field. Not two. Two hundred.
No helmets. No shoulder pads. No cleats.
Instead, silly hats, funky pants, soft shoes.
Ten health workers strode onto the field for the coin toss. Dr. Anthony Fauci flipped a coin. (It turned into a dove.)
The players took their places. A whistle blew. Bean bags flew.
The International Corn Hole Games were on.
Bean bags soared, skidded, and thumped all afternoon.
Players squinted, sweated, swore, and switched sides all afternoon.
Partisans roared all afternoon.
Points were tallied all afternoon. (No one kept score.)
The games ended.
No injuries. No concussions. No losers.
Every team won.
The bars were jammed that night.
The next day the president addressed the nation. “The budgets for the Pentagon and the NIH will be swapped,” she said. “I’m a mother. The time has come. The world will have a brighter day! All its children will be safe!”
I woke up.
Check out Paula’s bird photo montage on the home page.