Saturday afternoon weddings.

Why is it that weddings always seem to clash with the one sports event that you have been waiting months to attend or watch? And how come this head-on collision between the wedding and the sports event always escapes radar detection until it is too darn late, and how come the wedding always wins?

There is much to be said for someone coming up with ‘How to avoid weddings and stay married – 101 Plausible Excuses for sports fanatics’. A sure bet for the best-seller list, by my reckoning.

It was one such occasion. A wedding, the timing of which didn’t make sense to me, and made even less sense to a four-year-old Keegan who not only had to give up a soccer match, but had to take a bath and wear clean clothes too. ‘Just look at the two of you,’ gushed mother who saw this as a decisive moral victory and would see to it that she didn’t lose a chance to remind us of this fact.

The church was full and as I looked out across the sea of faces it was clear that I was not alone in my suffering. Men sat sullen and glum whilst the triumphant, smiling faces of the women present dotted pews that I’m sure were once used as torture racks but had been well sanded and varnished to conceal all such evidence. I immediately felt at one with those who had once been stretched and beaten on the very place where I was now sitting. A pleasant fate, I mused to myself, compared to the one I was presently enduring.

The death rattle of the organ sounded and we all stood to watch the bridal party’s stately advance down the aisle to the front of the church. The procession was led by the priest who was dressed all in black, his flowing robe sweeping the ground.

‘Dad!’ cried an excited Keegan in a voice that attracted the attention of every dad within a ten block radius. ‘Who’s the referee?’

A simple case of mistaken identity, of role confusion. Quite understandable, considering the all-black garb. I would think, however, that a referee would dispense with the candles and incense prior to the game and that the priest would not have yellow and red cards tucked away in his robes. Nonetheless, I can see how the confusion came about.

Of course some might say that a referee is imminently more suitable at the outset of a marriage than a priest, and I concede that they may have a point there, but that is another matter.

I saw a Goldman Sachs advert the other day which read: You have no stunt double – this is leading. In a sense, a priest can’t stand in for a referee, nor a referee for a priest.

Leadership responsibility requires the removal of stunt doubles from the set. I guess if you can’t take the spills and have no stomach for the action, you have no business being a leader.

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