Last week I went on a field trip with my middle daughter to the Temple of the Oblong Ball, what its worshippers affectionately call “Owen Field”. Upon mention of its name, worshippers often place their hand on their hearts and cast their eyes downward in reverence. Sometimes they will utter the holy battle cry “Boomer” which is always followed by the other holy word “Sooner”.
Upon approach to the temple proper, one is greeted by the bronzed effigies of the many gods of the Oblong Ball, all of them holding the sacred object in some fashion, always cradling it for safety because so many others want to take it from them to hold it themselves. There have been many injuries in the past, some of them fatal, in the pursuit of the possession of this Oblong Ball.
The Temple itself is arranged as to focus all worshippers toward the natural green field, and they have been so careful as to measure the field in its holy length of 100 yards, apparently so that all may know that the holiness of 100 yards has been mapped out upon the holy ground that is the Field of the Oblong Ball.
Many rows of seats rise up around the holy field, all of them assuring that the worshippers are always facing the holiness that is the Field of the Oblong Ball. Giant screens are erected on either side of the holy field, so as to allow worshippers a glimpse of their gods as they wrestle for possession of the Oblong Ball.
We were allowed access to the antechamber to the south of the holy field, a place where many idols are stored and placed on display. These idols are in glass cases so that no ordinary mortal may touch them, and are on raised surfaces so that worshippers may gaze upon them in wonder. There are also many raiments of the gods displayed here, each of them displaying a handy number which obviously sets each god apart so that worshippers might know whom they are paying homage.
Worshippers come from all over the world to attend services, usually held on Saturday evenings or Saturday afternoons between the months of September and December, depending on the possession of the Oblong Ball and which of the gods from each neighboring city has carried it to each end of the holy field the most.
We were given a rare treat, not bestowed on mortals often, which was a tour within the hallowed halls of the gods. Only one of the gods was in attendance, and he was dressing out of his raiments as we approached him. We were informed that he was the substitute hurler of the Oblong Ball! How enraptured the children became as he shook their hands and smiled at them. He could not stay long, perhaps called away on some world changing mission, but our children managed to get him to write his holy name on their humble notebooks.
Afterward we were taken to the other field that is not so holy, the field on which the gods practice the carrying, throwing, and kicking of the Oblong Ball. The children rolled around on the holy grass made of hard-to-find plastic, and even plucked a little to put in their pockets so that the gods would show favor on them.
We left the Temple of the Oblong Ball, soon to ride a bus to an art museum with a bunch of paintings nobody cared about, painted by a bunch of creepy artists that cut off their ear for some reason.
But all in all, a great day. May the Oblong Ball be ever cradled in your arms!