And in the South, a Great Storm gathered...Editor’s Note: This column was filed on the evening of Thursday, Aug. 28.
It was a night of unbelievable import. It was a night that would echo through the annals of time.
In the Rocky peaks of the West, a young Prince made his claim to the thrown in front of a throng of adoring worshipers and scribes.
In the far reaches of the North, the old soldier gathered his bowed but unbeaten army on the shores of a Great Lake.
In the South, a great storm brewed in the swirling waters of the mighty ocean, threatening to turn back time and destroy all in its path.
In the East, a disgraced General counted the days until his reign ended, and cursed the Gods for sending him yet another storm.
The historians marked the date. They remembered a night 45 years prior when a King shared his dreams with millions. They recalled the recent history of great disasters that had occurred at this time as well: the collapse of the bridges and roads, the passage of a prior storm of biblical proportions so similar in nature to the violent tempest brewing in the Southern waters.
Above all else, it seemed as if it was the Prince’s time. On a night that will forever belong to the King that came before him, the Prince made his claim for a different thrown, and challenged the Soldier to a battle for the crown.
On that night, it was impossible to foretell how the destinies of the Prince, the Soldier, the General and the storm would play out.
The Soldier planned a great war council several days forth, and as his considerably smaller but fiercely loyal army gathered at the shores of the Great Lake, the old Soldier cast one eye to the peaks of the West and one eye towards the swirling thunderheads of the South.
What to do? The Soldier would need a lieutenant. With his appointed attaché, perhaps he could plot out a better course of action.
How should a soldier respond to the insolent Prince’s challenge? How dare the Prince question the Soldier’s ability to follow the Evil One to the caves of Hell!
The Soldier wished to strike out and smite the Prince down, as he had to other enemies throughout his storied lifetime. But the soldier was tired. His arms were weary from battle, and he could no longer raise the sword above his head to deliver the killing coup.
But the Soldier had his army, and now he had his lieutenant. And also he had the 501c3’s and the RNC, but that was a story to be told at a later date.
On this great night, however, it seemed entirely possible that despite the best-laid battle plans, the Soldier might be blown off the map by the literal and figurative winds of the storm.
As the storm grew, eyes and memories turned once again to the impotent General whom the Soldier and the Prince battled to replace.
Was this not the same General who lost a vast port city under the flood waters of the previous storm? And did not the Soldier wear the uniform of the General’s army even if he had torn off several identifying patches in protest of the General’s lagging leadership?
And as the storm grew and once again encroached upon the vast port city - still damp from the previous tempest - the Prince and the Soldier and the General abandoned their respective posts in the Rocky peaks of the West, the Great Lake of the North, and the White mansion of the East.
They raced to the South.
In the vast port city, in the eye of a monstrous storm biblical in nature, eerily repetitive in appearance and might, the final battle took place.
The General was lost in incompetence. The Soldier gathered his army and vowed to relegate the evil storm to the Gates of Hell. The Prince and his adoring throng descended upon the wards, the alleys, the levies and the streets of th
e vast port city - they Hoped the storm would take a New Path.
As it turned out…well, it’s hard to say really. But by the time you read this, it’s quite possible that a victor will have been crowned and his fellow competitor will have been consumed by the tempest.
Kevin Hulten maintains the Off the Record and Purple and Gold Pigskin blogs.