I recently saw an amazing video on YouTube called “Battle at Kruger.” (Note: The video is not for the faint of heart.) Since the day it was posted in 2007, this eight-minute drama has become a phenomenon garnering more than 59 million views.
Watching it, you can see why. Though it’s an animal video, the amazing events recorded speak to core human ideals — survival, determination and community.
It’s sunset and we’re by a watering hole in Kruger National Park, South Africa. On one side, a herd of Cape buffaloes is enjoying the cool air, while opposite them a group of five lions are hunkered down, waiting for the right moment to attack. Suddenly, the buffaloes smell danger, and the pursuit is on. One lion, exquisitely attuned to her prey, pounces on a buffalo calf and the momentum of her leap propels them both into the water. The other four lions quickly move in for the kill, and it looks as if dinner is served.
But then a huge crocodile rises from the depths of the water and chomps down hard on the back leg of the still-struggling calf. A historic tug of war ensues, with the poor calf literally being torn between these two hungry opponents. Just when you can’t stand to watch for another second, the lions win, dragging the calf back up on land.
Before they can enjoy their hard-won meal, something really cool happens. In one single, focused mass, the Cape buffaloes descend with hoofs and horns to chase away the now very frustrated lions.
Amazingly, at the end of it all, the calf is able to stand and rejoin the herd. From a distance, it’s impossible to tell if the baby buffalo will live through the night. I choose to believe that it had the grit and resiliency to heal.
In thinking about that video, it seems to me that the attack on the calf is analogous to what’s happened to the pool and spa industry over the past few years.
The first lion to assault us was the crash of the housing market, followed quickly by its four friends: bank failure, stock market free fall, nationwide downsizing and massive government debt load. Then, just as we thought death-by-lion was imminent, the jaws of a historic credit crunch clamped down on us in a bone-crunching vice.
So where are the Cape buffaloes? Aren’t they a bit overdue?
The American people, though cautious, have lowered their horns to chase away the specter of economic death. No one knows exactly what’s in store for 2011, but there are some positive signs. A recovering stock market, a long-awaited rise in new car sales and a better than hoped for holiday season are all signs that recovery may be under way. And I choose to believe that we have the grit and resiliency to heal.
We are a stubborn, wily country that, through sheer determination, will rescue our own. We are a country of
great courage and ingenuity. And, perhaps best of all, we are a country that likes its pools and spas.