Paul had only been gone a year, but it felt like decades. He'd made an unplanned migration the previous fall, amidst much the same hoopla that had come in the previous years; the location changes, yes, but the hunk of wooden man never does. Confident, he stood there staring out at the masses, surveying all the emotion of the camps; some cheered and reached out to him, hoping to brush a fingertip against his slivery being; still some cried out at the loss of Paul Bunyan from their camp. Who else would help chop firewood to keep them warm during the dreadwinters?
Paul himself didn't think much of the move. Going from one camp to another, they all had the same feel: carousing, roughhousing, lewd activities, the occasional victory pyre in the middle of camp and half-moronic camp foremen to boot-- seaweed is not wood, nor do trees have feelings. He doesn't think much beyond those feels, simply moving about from camp to camp, one dreadwinter after another. One off-season after another. It was the long off-seasons that were killing him.
Sometimes he got more than enough to feed his Babe for the entire season! It was purely maddening; but yet, he stands there, fists planted firmly in his hips. Paul knows the power of the camps. He knows one day his time will come again. He will move.
That day had come on November 2nd 2013. Saturday.
The camps had come together as they usually had to play a game. Not any lumberjacks' games (that would have warmed Paul's heart), but a game of football. Certain lumberjacks stood there looking confused. Some took off work boot and sock, curling and uncurling their toes. Some still tried to join in the fray, practicing their kicking skills. Unofficially, it was a forfeit of the ages. Here they say kickers lack any sort of fortitude!
It was the Camp of the Spartans versus the Camp of the Wolverines for four quarters:
First Quarter: SPARTANS control WOLVERINES.
Second Quarter: SPARTANS control WOLVERINES.
Third Quarter: SPARTANS control WOLVERINES.
Fourth Quarter: SPARTANS control WOLVERINES.
RESULT: Paul is coming home.
This, being a natural game, overseen by Paul Bunyan, must be put in a natural setting and action. A Spartan, even a Lumberjack, should control the animals, Wolverine or otherwise. Four quarters of reality had been played out. The opposing camp could barely scamper away, certainly they could not push forward for the sake of Paul Bunyan. He will move them, perhaps in a years time, perhaps a decade or two. Paul Bunyan moved too. Could he have cried sawdust tears of joy no doubt he would have! But his wooden nature, being hard like that of wood, stood in the way.
No matter the outcome, he did look forward to this year, as he has the previous 59. Fo Sho Bo, Pearly Perles, Carr Goes Vroom Vroom, Better Than Nick Saban. All Kings of the Field, they play their best for the very soul of Paul Bunyan. But in reality, it's not just for a piece of statuary every year, it is a Battle for Michigan. A battle for a little piece of the larger history that helped build this state with Lumber and Metal and Trucks to haul all of it. A battle for each of us, the citizens of Michigan, whether it be Up North, in the U.P., Mackinac City, Jackson, Ironwood, New Buffalo or the Soo: We are Michigan. So too are we Paul Bunyan.
Michigan State Football: They Are Spartans (MI) (Images of Sports)