The pylons of Christmas are best not forgotten

Ken Simmons, Johnny Neese, Mac Abernathy, Richard Abernathy, Mary Jo Abernathy, Terry Johnston, Michael Johnston, Tommy Bennett, no hall of fame names here, just neighbor kids who sometimes found their way to the southern extension of Lambeau Field where the front yards of the Simmons and Pike families linked together to make a football field.

It wasn’t regulation size, but the graveled driveways were the end zones, sidewalks leading to the front doors of each home were out of bounds on the north side, while a drainage ditch on the south side marked out of bounds. Each yard had a couple of trees, but nothing to obstruct the main playing surface.

We played after school, any free moment on Saturdays, but I can’t remember playing on Sunday after church. No helmets, no pads, a few disagreements, no illegal hits, and never a question about whether a touchdown was really a touchdown.

I’m not sure about your perspective, but from my spider mite sized brain I’m weary of football games where the game officials must decide if a player scored a touchdown based upon whether the nose of the football broke the plane of the goal or if a player was able to graze the pylon with the football before he was shoved out of bounds.

To me this isn’t even worthy of replaying the video from a zillion different camera angles for some rule interpreting authority to make a decision. It is a simple matter of a rule change. To score a touchdown, a player must be in possession of the football, and must have his entire body in the end zone with the football securely in his possession. No exceptions, whole body, not pinky toe or finger, whole body with the football.

With this reasonable rule change, I’m sure the makers of pylons will be disappointed that their product will no longer be the focus of attention in determining the scoring of a touchdown, but I’m certain they will eventually find other sports for their product like ping-pong, gator wrestling, or large vegetable chucking which is scheduled to become a summer Olympic sport in 2020.

A football field pylon(Photo by Bill Pike with a special assist from Chris Rollison, Student Activities Director, Hermitage High School)

Definition research for pylon, finds a number of uses for the word, and its origin can be traced to the Greek language meaning “gateway.” Today, we associate pylon as a marker or tower, but a pylon can also be used to provide support.

Thirty-eight days ago we were celebrating Christmas, a season full of markers of support, and tomorrow is the Super Bowl, a football game that has become a national extravaganza with so much media hype that the basics of the game can be overlooked. I often wonder if the basics of Christmas are overlooked once it is over? Is the significance of Christmas still with me today, or have I tucked it away in my heart until next December?

In answering that questions, perhaps, I would be wise to consider the scripture from Jeremiah Chapter 31, verse 21: “Set up road markers for yourself, make yourself signposts; consider well the highway, the road by which you went.” I can whine about decisions related to touchdowns and pylons, but I suspect I would be better served if I push that whine energy into not forgetting the pylons of Christmas. How might I do this?

It’s a matter of redirecting my journey on the road of life by improving my focus on the markers and signposts I need to navigate the ups and downs of living. Part of that refocusing means a commitment to revisit the road by which I have traveled. To do this I must strengthen my daily devotional reading, scripture reflection, and prayer while looking for more growth opportunities at our church.

For the last several years, it has been pretty clear to me that the highway of life is more manageable with road markers and signposts from the good Lord to guide me. I’m not willing to continue my daily journey without guidance and direction from the good Lord and his Son. How about you? Have you tucked away the pylons of Christmas, and redirected your focus to less religious markers and signposts on your journey?

Author’s note: This piece “The pylons of Christmas are best not forgotten” was published as a Faith and Values column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on Saturday, February 1, 2014. The section B Metro editor was John Hoke.

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