Sunday, January 26, 2020

It Moved with the Land

Yesterday, I watched the Pixar movie "Cars" for the first time. After being certain I had watched it before, I found myself mumbling "I don't remember any of this" during its entire runtime.

There was a moment in it towards the end where the main character and a friend have a conversation about the changes in culture over the years in regards to the introduction to the interstate system.

Sally Carrera: Yeah. Back then, cars came across the country a whole different way.
Lightning McQueen: How do you mean? [The screen then goes to a flashback showing an aerial view of some traffic driving along Route 66 as Sally starts talking.]
Sally Carrera: Well, the road didn't cut through land like that Interstate. It moved with the land, you know? It rose, it fell, it curved. [The screen then shows at ground level as it moves from side to side beside the road with traffic going by.]
Folk: Mornin'! Nice day, huh?
Sally Carrera: [narrating] Cars didn't drive on it to make a great time. They drove on it to have a great time.

The line "It moved with the land... It rose, it fell, it curved," was something I thought a lot about today when watching Tranmere Rovers host Manchester United on a battle scorned pitch.

Muddy pitches are just about a thing of the past in today's professional soccer, but you see them pop up every once in a while. They died out back in the 90's in most of the civilized world and today we have beautifully smooth, impeccably green pitches to play on. Some of that can be chalked up to advances in, well, gardening. The other part of that is the implementation of a synthetic/real grass pitch combo.

Having a perfect pitch is great, but when I was watching Manchester United play on that muddy surface at Tranmere I remember that you use to be able to tell the time of year by most pitches. At the start you would have perfectly green surfaces but, like life, as fall and winter came, you started to see the wear. Spring would arrive and some of the green would return. It was a cycle.

It had me thinking of the "Cars" scene above.

"It moved with the land, you know?"

We'll never get back to terrible fields of mud, but there is possibly a finer thing that we lost when we lost those imperfect surfaces. They might have been ugly, but it marked time. It was part of the people. Part of the city. It told an incredible story.

Driving this further home with me today was the sudden and unexpected passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter in the time I was putting together my little thoughts here. Life, with all of its twists, turns, ups, and downs, is nothing like those perfectly manicured synthetic/grass pitches. It's much more like that Tranmere pitch today. I feel that we should embrace what we have and the seasons of our lives. We all have to do it. We all come from the same place and wind up the same way. It's such an indescribably amazing and fragile thing.

Perhaps one day we won't always be looking for the perfect way and instead look for the best way.

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