the taste of water
the color of air
the perception of my soul. don Thom
The readership, and indeed the national media, often posits an intriguing question about Boise State's football team's success: Why here? Today I am going to suggest that the answer is actually in the question: "here". By this I mean the physical location of the city, the university and, most importantly and emphatically, Bronco stadium itself are fundamental factors in the success of this team. I believe there is a metaphysical power attached to the stadium's location which permeates the team and fans. Still with me? Ok-hang on to your hats as we sail into the mystic.
James Michener's novels, such as "Hawaii" and "Centennial", begin with the origin of the cosmos, trace through the formation of the earth, the tectonic changes that led to its current configuration, and gradually focus in on the locus of his narratives. His message: there is nothing fortuitous in our universe. Everything is where it is for a reason, and the land itself, its relationship to the rest of the planet, and that relationship to the sun, ad infinitum, is vital to us; in fact creates us. I can't go into that detail, but consider a few things about our locale.
Claude Spinoza, a BSU geology prof, pointed to an area you can see from the stadium itself. If you look northeast you'll see a gap in the mountains, a sizeable depression. Archaelogical evidence shows that the ancient Native Amercians tried to capture the sun using a large net. It's true, ask him. Now leaving aside the practical problems you gotta' admire their spirit-and this essay comes down to that, the spirit that inhabits this very land where you're reading this. Louie Atteberry, my western lit prof at C of I, said later tribes used Table Rock to send smoke signals through the entire valley. So the overall area is infused with a special significance; these ancient rituals were the precusors to ours, performed on certain fall Saturdays.
The stadium? Consider the United Airlines got its start almost exactly where we watch the Broncos. Now notice this.The stadium sits in the southwest tetrarch (1/4) of the "cross" formed by Broadway Avenue and the Boise river. Some of you may recall the movie "Crossroads" which details legendary bluesman Robert Johnson's selling his soul to the devil at a crossroads. The significance and "power" of crossorads was recognized by many ancient belief systems and crossroads remain an element of nativistic religions to this day. The belief that they are imbued with special energy extends to natural crossings and bridges which arch over rivers. As for the southwest quadrant, many of you saw the movie "The Exorcist". In the beginning there is a statue of a demon (also seen briefly in Regan's bedroom). The statue is a replica of a real one. He was called by the Assyro/Babylonians Pazuzu, god of the southwest wind, an evil demon but one whose presence scared off other demons and so statues were erected to him although direct supplication was unavailing. Our stadium in the southwest quadrant would tell an Assyrian we were invoking that power. Skeptical? Well consider that the tornados that tore through here Friday (and the one I nearly ran into in '00) came from the southwest, travelling northeast (all of them will here-ask Rick Lantz).
Am I overboard? Literally my first day in Boise (June 1968) I walked to Bronco stadium; it looked like you'd have trouble staging a decent dog fight in it. But I sensed something; I wandered back through the "campus", spent the day there, even worked with the crew cleaning up the stadium site until I was kicked off. I've had 2 epiphanous experiences, in '74 and '76, very near that site. Their nature is not important; but they occurred and effect me to this day. I can see Bronco stadium from my office, and as I write this a little piece of the puzzle fits in. The stadium encapsulates for me my Boiseness; there has always been this ineffable "something" to Boise for me, some indescribable "certain sense of it all" that I've felt here and nowhere else. Metaphysical Kung-fu comes closest to describing it it . Whatever it is-"Esto Perpetua" ("Let It Be Perpetual").
"For me there is only traveling on paths that have heart, on any path that may have heart. There I travel, and the only worthwhile challenge is to transverse its full length. And there I travel, looking, looking, breathlessly."
don Juan, from Carlos Castaneda's "The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge" (1968)
"Peace, love and Bobby Sherman".