It isn’t about the touchdowns.
It isn’t about which team wins.
It isn’t about spiking the pigskin oval nor dancing in the inviting green of the endzone.
It isn’t about growing crowd size nor entertaining cheers from the distant bleachers.
It isn’t about radio DJs, TV newscasts nor ill-positioned photographers.
It isn’t about Hail Mary passes nor quarterback keepers up the middle.
It isn’t about scraped knees, torn jerseys nor muddy shoes.
It isn’t about rain, sun, cold nor wind.
It isn’t about competitor taunts, teenage tantrums nor a skirmish of shoves among dormitory friends whose camaraderie is tested by the pains of fatigue.
It isn’t about sparkling trophies, showers of tickertape floating aimlessly from the sky nor a warm embrace and peck on the cheek from a lass newly crowned as Miss Flag Football.
It isn’t about a bag of scintillating popcorn that teases the senses, tangy mustard and creamy slaw on a comforting hotdog of footlong measure nor the coldest of Cokes nor hottest of coffee.
It isn’t about time of day, dark of night, radiance of sun nor fullness of moon.
It isn’t about crossing the goal line, defending the pass nor miscalculating the reach for an opponent’s jostling crimson flag.
It isn’t about girlfriends on the sidelines, all friends in the seats nor any friends who show for the cause.
It isn’t about textbooks, term papers, tutors nor timelines.
It isn’t about questions, answers, theorems nor resolution.
It isn’t about math, science, literature nor the arts.
It isn’t about teachers, professors, department heads nor staff.
It isn’t about 30 minutes of sleep, an hour at play nor two days and two nights in constant motion.
No, it isn’t any of these limited to one. It is about all of these standing as a collective, a common voice speaking out for the good of a people and the humanitarian crisis that governs their day.
When 28 members of Alpha Gamma Chi, a Greek social service club on the Lee University campus, set about recently to break the Guinness World Records mark for consecutive hours of flag football, it was destined to ring in plenty of fun and lots of good cheer. Yet it came with defined purpose.
Long a supporter of People for Care & Learning, and the international goodwill this Cleveland-based organization breeds, the young men of Alpha Gamma Chi set about to accomplish a grueling task. They chose to play a marathon game of flag football. And to entice donors to contribute to PCL’s Build a City project, they marked a new Guinness World Record as their goal.
They accomplished both.
Not only did this young group of spirited civic leaders set a new global milestone — 50 hours — their efforts also raised an estimated $80,000 to $86,000 to be used to help build a marketplace and health clinic in Andong Village, a third-world Cambodian territory in Phnom Penh, which is the Sister City to Cleveland.
Dr. Paul Conn, president of Lee University, and Fred Garmon, PCL international director, are elated over Alpha Gamma Chi’s overwhelming success, and with good reason.
It was truly an amazing feat. It brought together a collection of class-act college students, their service-minded university, the surrounding community, and all who share a basic belief in people and their deserved right to raise families in conditions where children are fed and life is humane.
At its core, this was just a simple game of football among good buddies.
But it scored a great victory in the hearts of an impoverished people half a world away whose only wish is the chance to dream.