Six champions and two near-champions
Vie to cross two bridges
Over an abyss that drops for six months.
Six of them must fall –
It is the Fall Classic, after all –
Before two contend at the center of their world.
But it is the battles on these bridges
We draw near to witness.
Millions of us hold our collective breath.
For more than six months
We suffered their failures
And exalted with their triumphs.
In truth, for some, the wait
Has been an eternity of cycles
Of hope and anguish.
A perennial distraction
From lives as different as each of us,
That bonds us in tribal ways.
Five or seven battles may there be;
After each the balance shifts,
As History tries to tip the scales.
With blind Hope we try to set them level,
Dreading the last defeat
That sends us into darkness.
They are our surrogates.
Every time they rally, so do we.
When they falter, we are crushed.
One by one, some heroes fall from the bridges
And the survivors battle anew.
Some followers of the fallen shift allegiance.
Many of us cannot face the end
Hoping for one more contest
Before the happy few celebrate.