One of the more unusual aspects of the annual kids’ rodeo hosted by our congregation’s pastor (which I usually personally label by his name) is the fact that even though we are a people who have nothing to do with pigs, not even eating them as is the common habit of many people, there is a popular event where small children chase around piglets. Interestingly enough, this year provided a bit of a change from previous years when it came to this particular experience.
Among the changes was that there were two piglets included, one of them a bit larger, for an additional challenge. Although in previous years, some of the piglets looked terrified by the children, this year at least the little piggies showed admirable spirit, snorting and even chasing some of the kids in between running around. I have to admit that I enjoy seeing animals show a bit of spirit, as it allows one to more easily root for them and also not to feel bad for them.
When one thinks of who my sympathies are for, the answer is somewhat complicated. One feels for the pigs, because it can be a scary thing to have people chasing after you, even little people. To be sure, some of us big people would be worse at chasing after animals because we are a bit slow in ground speed, but some of the little children appeared to lack tactical knowledge of how to use their knowledge of terrain to corner an animal so that someone could grab it, and in some cases it appeared that the piglets had more spirit than the children, though no one appears to have been harmed or even overly scared, which is a nice improvement over what can be the situation.
Indeed, the lack of shade and the trouble that the pigs had in staying cool (as a result of lacking sweat glands) meant that the larger kids, the ones looking forward to chasing the piglets, were unable to do so, and only the smallest kids got to do so. And that lack of experience showed, as only one person managed to catch a pig by the inelegant but highly effective means of sitting on it, which was highly entertaining to the rest of us.
Perhaps, when it comes to such things, it is hardest to feel sympathy for those of us who enjoyed the sport and avidly watched it. When one thinks of animals in sport, it is easy to feel a sense of sympathy for the animals, who are usually at somewhat of an intellectual disadvantage and often penned up to prevent them from running freely. It is also easy to feel a sense of pride in the spirit of people who want to test their strength and coordination against animals in a controlled environment where they are putting themselves at some risk, at least. But what can one say of those of us who merely enjoy the show? Or rather, what does the enjoyment of that sort of sport speak for better and for worse about those of us who enjoy the competition from the safety of outside of the pen?