There was no way out.
We were trapped.
My left hand reached forward for the husband. My right hand reached back for the teenage boy.
My God, I thought. One wrong move and bad things could happen.
It was six thirty in the morning when he painted a bird on his face.
He dressed carefully, layer by layer, each piece colorfully cementing his commitment to the cause. As he walked to the train station he had to take a deep breath. He needed some way to control the excitement bubbling in his blood.
When he arrived downtown it was a sea of blue and green as far as he could see.
It was no surprise.
He knew they would show up.
He waited a long time for the team to come by. But when they did he yelled as loud as he ever had. He raised his arms and chanted with the crowd. His heart was pounding. He thought this might be the greatest moment of his life.
He knew it was just a game. But by God, these boys, these men, had managed to make him deliriously happy. They had won the Superbowl. He was sure he’d remember it forever.
He knew he was just one of thousands that day on the parade route. He knew he was just a normal, average guy with a bird painted on his face. But this football team? - They were inspiring. They had done something great.
The crush of people began as soon as the parade was over. Within minutes the husband, the teenage boy and I were seized and engulfed. The pack tightened. The choking crowd swayed as one. The gridlocked individual was powerless as thousands of bodies pressed up hard and tight against each other. The initially intoxicating and exhilarating experience of being a part of it all had taken a turn toward the frightening and alarming.
It was, without question, impossible to move.
I turned to find a man with a bird painted on his face bellowing over my head at the top of his lungs. His belly pressed hard into my side, I could feel him take in another breath and bellow again, “There are little children here! There are little children here!”
The crush of 12s turned their heads in real concern and looked toward the man with the bird painted on his face.
“Come on people! “ he firmly roared. “We are going to make some room! We’ve got to get these little children out of here!"
Impossibly, the 12s pushed back and parted the sea of congestion. Impossibly, a space was created. Impossibly a mother holding a baby and pushing a stroller with a toddler in it nervously made her way through the crowd.
The man with the bird painted on his face yelled again, “Good job people! Good job! We don’t want anyone getting hurt-especially the little children.”
And with that the crowd closed in on each other.
Again, it was impossible to move.
When the crowd finally broke free, I watched him walk away. He thought he was just one of thousands that day on the parade route. He thought he was just a normal, average guy with a bird painted on his face. But this guy? - He was inspiring. He had done something great.
Check This Out!
Most of what I knew about Bruce Springsteen came from his Born in the USA years and the fact that my high school choir teacher was one of his biggest fans.
I have just finished the book Bruce by Peter Ames Carlin.
A fairly honest account of Bruce's life and music, this book has caused me to become one of the Boss' obsessive superfans. At least for now. It's worth checking out, for sure. It's no surprise he's still creating and touring. I recommend having some of his albums around while you are reading. Listening to the music the author is describing helped in understanding the book, and Bruce.
I've become particularly fond of his early music, something I was fairly unfamiliar with before reading the book.
One of my new favorites: Prove It All Night