Trees change at night to rust, orange, brown. On long warm afternoons my friends and I ran downfield, catching perfect spirals, tackling each other as if trying to hurt one another when all we wanted was to be good at what we knew. Red-gold leaves surrounded us. Our dungarees were stained green. We flung ourselves into the test, trying to prove our value—each one measured against the other, but all stacked up against the worst the world could throw at us. It’s not enough to say it was a game. It was about order and chaos, about learning to play by rules, about teaming up to finish a job, about using strength and brains. To say the joy was a type within reach makes it all sound a little fancy, but I can still see the shining faces and hear voices exploding in the open each time something went right. We ran as if our lives depended on it, and who can say they haven’t? The moves I learned back then still drive me through the day.
—Paul Marion (c) 1993, 2011