Donald Brashear, left wing for the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League stared down at the shimmering desert sand and cracked his knuckles. Behind him a small and stalwart group of Jewish warriors screamed themselves hoarse in encouragement. A few hundred feet away a giant stood in front of a massive army of Philistines. The other man was slightly taller than Brashear and had a beard like glued-on loose tobacco. His name was Goliath and, on behalf of the Jewish people, Donald Brashear had agreed to fight him.
“You’re going down, Jew!” a voice yelled from the Philistine side.
Brashear chuckled, kicked at the dirt, and waved Goliath on. The giant, to a Philistine roar, rumbled towards Brashear, a trail of desert dust rising behind him. Brashear made no move. He took little interest in the burning fury in Goliath’s eyes. If the National Hockey League had taught him anything, besides keeping your stick on the ice at all times, it was that guts beat skill, every single time.
Goliath swayed towards him like a runaway garbage truck rolling backwards down a steep hill. Brashear polished his fingernails against his jersey, looked at them, and then brushed them again.
“You are going to rue the day you ever became a monotheist, Jew!” the Philistines yelled.
“Hit him with a rock!” a young voice from the Jewish side suggested loudly, as the giant came even closer.
It was not until Goliath was ten feet away that Brashear moved at all. Dropping his arms to his side, he shook them loosely and reached out towards his charging enemy. Grabbing Goliath’s tunic, Brashear pulled it over the surprised giant’s head and began to drive his right fist rapidly into his opponent’s skull. The blinded Philistine tried to turtle, a maneuver in which an individual covers his head with his hands, drops to the ground, and awaits the calming blackness of unconsciousness. But Brashear, on behalf of the Jewish people, wouldn’t allow Goliath to cover up.
“Hey, that’s not fair, Jew! He can’t see with his tunic over his head, Jew!” yelled a voice from the Philistines.
Brashear paused in his beating of Goliath, laughed heartily, and continued to beat the giant about the head and shoulders. Goliath, now badly unconscious, hung limply as he bled copiously from the nose. Brashear dropped him to the sand and dusted off his black and orange Philadelphia Flyers jersey. He called to the now silent Philistine army.
And with that the Philistines dropped their spears and frankincense and ran screaming into the desert. A roar of triumph erupted from the Jewish warriors. A few of the elders stepped forward to congratulate Brashear.
“You, Donald Brashear, are the new King of the Jews. Three great big Jewish cheers for King Donald!”
“Hold your donkeys, my friends. I’m not your guy. I already have a job, and that is protecting the more skilled players on the Philadelphia Flyers on our way to the Stanley Cup. No, the King of the Jews is among you and I know exactly who he is.” The Jewish side gasped in anticipation. Brashear smiled benevolently.
“Jesus!” Brashear hollered. “Will Jesus please step forward?” Still there was no movement.
“Nobody here is named Jesus? Nobody? Really? Okay. Is there a Moses?” There was murmuring among the Jewish warriors, but no reply.
“Okay, how about a Judas or a Paul?”
“Well, I’ve got to be at the rink in fifteen minutes, so we’ve got to figure out who is going to be king.”
“Maybe we can draw straws,” someone suggested.
“Screw that, you don’t want an artist to be king,” cried Brashear. “Who was the guy who yelled that I should hit that jerko with a rock?”
A tiny hand raised and the crowd backed away from a small, gawky teenager. Brashear motioned him forward.
“Kid, I like your attitude. You’ll be a good king. I can’t tell you how many times I have been faced with big problems. And you know what? Most of them can be solved by throwing rocks at them. What’s your name?”
And that is how a six-foot-three, 225-pound African-Canadian nearly became the King of the Jews.