Photo by Malcolm Garret on

You could just smell summer in the air.  Boy and girls released sounds of joy.  The lord of lords had blessed us with a truly exquisite day.  It smelled of pine with a slight hint of dogwood.  Everyone there was attending the Conference Championship game for my old high school.  The game was almost over and our home team, “The Raider’s,” was about to lose by a five-point margin with less than a minute left.  But we had the ball and were driving down the field.  The stadium was packed with die-hard football fans hoping for a great game, but I was praying for a win.  I stood, looked around, and admired the entire splendor that surrounded me. The sky was layered in dark blue clouds moving to the east.  While dressed in a short set with a tee shirt and sandals, I noticed the clouds moving faster and the afternoon air changing.  The wind was blowing a nasty storm in from the west and it was headed this way fast.  The seemingly perfect day was quickly proving to be different.  Then again, all of god’s days are perfect in his perfection.  The noise lowered at the stadium when everyone started to feel tiny droplets of rain.  We all knew we wouldn’t make it to our cars in time, and with a potentially exciting game coming to an end we all decided to stick the last few seconds out.

            Raider Ravine was located in a small ravine.  The walk down to the field always proved to be a challenge but not as nearly as challenging as our journey back today.  The Wolverine defense had stumped our boys most of the game causing two interceptions for scores.  We hung in there and stuck to the running game, it helped keep us in the game with a few scores of our own.  We were down but fighting to the end.  28-23 was the score with 18 seconds left.  The crowd looked around when the wind blew harder and the rain trickled a little more.  What happened next caught us by surprise, it happened so fast I don’t remember the play that was run.  Rusty the Racer, number 22, broke through the linebackers and was into the open field for a sure touchdown.  The crowd was on their feet screaming and counting each yard as Rusty burned up the field.  The elements were picking up though; causing noticeable problems for Rusty and with a man-eating defense behind him the sure touchdown became questionable.  He slipped briefly at the thirty-yard line while heading for the twenty.  That mishap helped those wolverines catch up and he was eventually tackled at the fifteen-yard line.  His sixty-two yard scamper put him over two hundred yards rushing for the day.  Out of timeouts, the Raiders were hurrying to the line to run a quick play or to try and stop the clock.  Coach Rogers, of the Wolverines, quickly called a timeout to reset his defense, that was the break we needed.  It seemed as if my prayers were being heard.  Among the cheers and celebration was the yelling of Coach Cope of the Raiders trying to calm his team and get the right play in for the final down.  There were eight seconds left on the clock and a field goal would not win the game.  We needed a touchdown and a miracle. 

            “Great job Rusty!” Coach Cope relays smacking Rusty on the helmet.

            “Now listen up men!  We have come a long way and fought long and hard to stay in this game.  There is no reason why you guys do not deserve to win this game and the Conference Championship.  We are the better team and without a few mistakes, the scoreboard would reflect that.  There’s no need to cry over spilled milk now.  All we can do is go out a give one hundred and ten percent.  In the next twelve seconds, I will not settle for less then all you got.  For some of you this will define your future, for others it will seal your past.  This is gut check time men.  I need a win right now.  Are we going to win?”

            “Yeah!” the team replied.

            “Well here we go then,” says coach Cope.

            “They have been and will be keying in on Rusty since he’s been torching them this whole game.  So here’s what I want; I want a halfback pass to Mike on first sound.  Don’t give them a chance to get set.  Mike get open, and Rusty, make the pass like in practice.  Everybody else has to sell the run and sell it good.  Their safeties have been cheating up trying to help on the run so this should work.  Good luck men.  Raider’s on three.  One, two, three.”

“Raiders” The team yells before trotting back on the field.

            I don’t pray enough, but I prayed a lot this game.  I closed my eyes and I said; you know what I want and you are going to help me get it because I am asking.  Thank you Jesus for answering my prayer, Amen.  I reopened my eyes when a silence filled the ravine.  The teams got set into their positions.  Everyone was on his or her feet focused on the moments to come.  A strong wind blew through the crowd swiftly, pushing hats and chairs away from their perspective locations.    We were reminded about the storm and what was ahead for us.  The sky was now as black and gray as soot.  The rain started to pour along with small pieces of hail.  The crowd was not about to budge though.  The intense weather did not matter now.  We were in the final stage of a drama and the final curtain was about to close.  The wind blew harder as the quarterback waited until his people were set before slowly stepping under the center.  I watched as his head jerked slightly, causing an onslaught of action to follow.  The defense weren’t ready just as coach said.  They were one step behind with every passing second.  Matt, the quarterback, dropped back and tossed the ball to ol’ Rusty.  Rusty ran franticly toward to short side of the field.  It seemed like he was trapped and had nowhere to go.  The whole defense was swarming all over him.  That was exactly what our Raiders wanted.  Rusty launched his wobbly pass to Mike.  The safety was beat but was recovering quickly.  Just as the ball got close the safety tipped it causing the ball the fly away from Mike and toward the sideline.  I closed my eyes but reopened them as if to accept the loss.  Just then a freak wind blew in from the east catching the ball and carrying it back into the playing field.  Wide eyed, no one could believe what we were witnessing.  Alertly Mike turned toward the ball and with a diving effort caught the ball in the end zone.  Touchdown signaled the officials and the final horn blew.  The crowd yelled fanatically and rushed the field.  The sky was clearing and we were celebrating, maybe, the most dramatic win in school history.

            Although the win was great, I recognized a higher power at work that day.  I have learned a lot from this one experience.  Miracles come in all shapes and sizes and they happen all the time.  I am glad I was able to witness this kind of miracle today.  Some do not agree with me or do not believe my story.  But the people that were there all know that there is no way we should have won that game.  The odds were stacked against us, and we still came out on top.  Not to mention the freak storm that blew over the ravine in the last minutes of the game and then blew away when the game ended.  I have learned to keep the faith even when all seems lost.  Who knows when God will Raid your Ravine.