You might have seen my twitter posts with #InAField as the tag over the last couple of years. Initially they were accompanied by pictures of our candlelabra as we ate in the evening. Most recently the pictures have included boots, tweed jackets and sometimes have even been taken from the back of a carriage as we have careered around a field. After a lifetime of not being sporty I find myself a competitor in a sport so far removed from my working class background that it makes me gasp.
Think of Ben Hur, minus the wheel spurs obviously, and complete with a woman hanging onto the back of a carriage for dear life, shrieking as we go through the water obstacle and her boots fill with muddy water and you’re getting close. It’s a mixture of horsemanship, stock car racing and an endurance sport (more on that later) and most weekends in the summer it is what you will find us doing.
If you had asked me three years ago if I fancied a go at this I would have laughed in your face. What did this sport for the dyed in the wool horsey set have to do with me? I didn’t have the connections, the background or the clothes and horses were another species (I know they are but they seemed almost alien to me, and big… really big). I started off watching my love manuever himself and his horse around a course. His skill was obvious to me. He was capable, connected and masterly. All the things I had seen from Him in our play. I saw it extend beyond us into the wider world and in that process began to understand that the way He moved through the world enhanced not just my life and our us, but also those He interacted with there.
He is a quiet, sure space of calm, able to move at speed when required to head off potential disasters. Alert to nuance and change. Given to the occasional, exasperated ‘For fuck’s sake!’ when tested. Quick to laugh and slow to complain. He is a rock to those He loves and there are many that love Him for it.
Competing in any sport is a test or a challenge, it should also bring you joy. I have woken up with a hangover and mounted the carriage after taking a moment to throw up. This was the moment I realised that it mattered to me how we did. That I was as invested in it as He was. As the wind hit my face and the carriage moved off, bouncing across the rutted field to the start of the marathon I wasn’t thinking I was crazy to be doing it, I was vowing not to drink so much next time. My head cleared as I pulled on my gloves and checked the route. He sparked up His pre event cigarette and we both grinned. Glad to be there and glad it was us.
Sport is the world in microcosm. A life is played out on the field, or in our case, in the field. And also in our case a new life is created. We aren’t able to live together at the moment but we can live fully into our us when we are competing. We have a rhythm, shared goals, friends, momentary enemies, defeats, anticlimaxes, challenges and victories, tears and laughter. But most of all we have us.
Everything is as it should be.