Sunday, December 04, 2005

A Poem For The Bench

The local newspaper ran a special section this past week on the high school football stars of this past season. But how about those players who show up at practice day in and day out, but will be lucky to ever play a down with the game on the line. Let’s hear it for the second stringers! Those guys on the bench deserve some respect too. For them, here’s a poem I wrote some time ago.

He goes to his practice the end of school days.
In pads, in cleats, for hours he stays.
Running and hitting and pushing and more,
Working his muscles until they are sore,

For football can take a lugubrious toll
When bodies collide, out of control.
The boy takes it all with a wince and a lump
Each time some stud puts him on his rump.

Though he’s not overly strong, nor quick on his feet,
And at sixteen, not wise to the street,
He still plays hard, he still has a dream,
That there’ll be that day they make him first team.

Today he is still, with his fists in a clench,
As he watches the game from his spot on the bench.
Kids bigger, kids faster are getting their turn,
As coaches belabor, "Watch and you’ll learn."

So the boy with his seatmates give their voices and cheers
To the stars as they embark on their athletic careers.
But if you listen enough, you may hear some grumble
For their teammates to choke, or give up a fumble.

Of course, that would give them their turn to play,
To enter fresh-legged, to save the day.
But the twists of fate play hard on the young
And game after game, their new hopes are stung.

So they must be content to tackle and block
When the game’s not in doubt; no time’s on the clock.
At least if they lose and must watch their opponents exalt,
They can comfort themselves to say, "It wasn’t my fault."


Blogger Peter said...

Great poem Dave, I'll file it with several hundred more that I like if you don't mind

1:59 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

Well done, Coach. I was a bench warmer my freshman year playing soccer, but I got lots of playing time my sophomore year. Then, I gave it all up to work at a supermarket. It was much easier to make money than it was to run sprints.

7:19 PM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

I was always "first string" in my sports. This poem makes me kinda sad that I was....

9:03 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

Great poem Dave! Very touching and so true.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Dave, My kids were in marching band and had the same experiences their first year. They learned their music but did quite come up to snuff in the marching area. They were extras...Second, third and fourth year they had earned their due and marched with the band. Some of those kids had to carry out the ladder for the drum major, or help the color guard girls with their props. Some of them just sat and watched. It takes every member to make a team, even when you think you have a menial job. Without those people the performance doesn't come off. Great poem. Thanks!

9:32 AM  
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12:52 AM  

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