I write to you on the eve of your return to the SEC Championship Game, and, given our past engagements at said venue, the irony is not lost on me that I find myself cheering your team on in this contest. One is never so old to outgrow surprises. I am certain that, in your time at Columbia, you’ve accepted this maxim as well.
Given the stakes of tomorrow’s game, I’m sure your time is valuable to you but, if I may, I would ask for a few moments to recount the story of Karol Szymanowski’s opera King Roger. I know something of your enthusiasms, so you are perhaps unfamiliar with opera in general and the works of Szymanowski in particular, but I beg patience.
The titular king of the work is Roger II of Sicily, one of myriad Roman Catholic monarchs distributed about the city-states of twelth-century Mediterranean Europe, and his story is one of power and temptation.
Early in the performance, a holy mass is interrupted by a shepherd boy who is accused of heresy. Oddly enough, the accusations are correct, as the shepherd adheres to pagan ritual and custom, even in the court of a Christian king.
However, the shepherd’s presence spurs strange reactions among the Sicilian court. The queen breaks into song, soldiers leave their arms for merry dancing, and most of the king’s advisors follow the shepherd as he tries to leave. As the king attempts to imprison the shepherd and exert his royal authority, more and more chaos ensues.
In the end, the king discovers that the shepherd is actually Dionysus, Greek god of dance and wine, and through him learns to abandon the limits of his fearful vanity and celebrate the vivacity of life.
So I guess what I’m saying here is, if you find yourself with a lead in the fourth quarter this time, don’t bench Garcia in favor of a freshman. OK, Ball Coach?
Roll Tide (and Go Cocks!).