The athletes run on to the paddock.
It’s no longer a paddock of course. It’s the Cross-eyed Mountain Lion Stadium.
Here come our heroes.
We’re here to worship. This is our church.
The players arrive, their uniforms adorned with Cross-eyed Mountain Lion logos.
Both teams in fact; so much so that it’s hard to see where the company branding ends and the player begins.
Harder still to work out exactly which player is on which team.
Walking, broad-shouldered, Cross-eyed Mountain Lion billboards with short necks.
Our Cross-eyed Mountain Lion sponsored heroes run back and forth on a pitch covered in the same corporate logo – the once green turf now rendered a delightful golden ale colour.
Behind them, similarly adorned advertising hoardings.
Up in the commentary box, the expert commentators soon give up talking up the game.
It’s quite possible they have lost visual contact with the ball or simply fallen under the mesmerising spell of the wall-to-wall advertising.
Instead they raise their Cross-eyed Mountain Lion commemorative glasses and start spruiking their sponsor instead.
The broadcast cuts to a commercial, or perhaps it’s just a lull in the play. It’s getting harder to tell what’s game and what’s advertising.
We’re back to the game now.
The Cross-eyed Mountain Lions are up ten Slabs against the younger and more fancied opposition – the Cross-eyed Mountain Lion Cubs.
In the cheap seats, Trevor wonders how many points a slab is worth or why they dispensed with the traditional scoring conventions in the first place. ‘They must have had good reason’. He returns to his Cross-eyed Mountain Lion.
The PA system crackles.
Has anyone lost a child wearing a Cross-eyed Mountain Lion Jumper and scarf.
As one, 100,000 worried parents turn to their left and right, conducting a visual roll call on their own Cross-eyed Mountain Lion merchandise-adorned children. Satisfied they have approximately the same number of children they arrived with, they return to their drinks.
The PA system crackles again.
Adults and children alike, pause mid sip, looking up from their glasses of Cross-eyed Mountain Lion.
It’s the League Chairman; his voice and image beamed from the Cross-eyed Mountain Lion airship stationed high above the stadium.
“It is the league’s view that decisions about the types of Cross-eyed Mountain Lion beverages that people consume are decisions for adults themselves,” states the Chairman.
As one, the stadium roars.
“Which is why I am proud to announce that all concession stands will now sell the full range of Cross-eyed Mountain Lion Beers including our new and extremely popular Pale Ale Special Edition.”
The Chairman’s image recedes from view, replaced momentarily with a cross-eyed mountain lion that burps loudly, before winking knowingly to the crowd, (as much as a cross-eyed mountain lion can).
Then the mountain lion has gone too and it’s back to the game…or perhaps it’s a commercial break.
I’m really not too sure.
Illustration by Andrew Henderson