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The Game of Courage

If courage was a game it would be the most enjoyable, fulfilling, frustrating and fearful game ever. It would be the hardest of all games to play and the most satisfying to have competed in, whether you won or lost.

It would probably be played with a blown-up pig’s bladder, goat’s skin or other animal skin – irregular, blotched and pitted from years of abuse. It would also be dotted with steel studs to add a frission of pain, just to keep you present and focussed on every frenetic, sweaty moment of the game.

The referee would certainly be biased and fickle with no regard for your feelings or for any sense of fair play. You’d just have to struggle within the changing and nonsensical (sometimes) rules and you’d never complain – or even want to complain – about the unfairness or that you’re offended by anything. You’d have to be immune to offence or the lack of justice and you’d pursue your goal of winning through intense slugging against your physical, mental and emotional bodies … and you’d keep going, just as all your team mates are slugging on through the mud, stupidity and pain.

Quitting and excuses are not an option and, if they were, there’s no mediator to appeal to, anyway. “Shut the hell up and get on with it or bugger off,” might be the mediator’s response if they existed. And they don’t.

The other thing about this weird and primitive sport is that there are no spectators. There is no one but yourself to urge you on. There’s no one to dry your tears or patch your wounds. There’s no one to witness your greatest moments. No one. Just your team mates and they don’t care about glory; only that silent, final moment of touch-down when you hammer the last nail into the coffin of your foes.

Welcome to the game!