Wednesday, March 23, 2011


A sweet sixteen you were, you want
Guard, quarterback...lead
Pitcher, sandlots, floorboards, green fields
In the suburbs, my mother dreamed
She wanted a house there, we traveled east
As far as we could, three blocks from the beach
On her Dune Drive at 17th, footprints in sand
Bayberry bushes, wild grasses, herons, sun
Water and wind, while
To you we went, Super Sundays, covered dishes
Uncle Butch, the leader, coach
I played tennis coach-less, ball against wall
Forehand, backhand, repeat, repeat
Breeze required a stronger serve, topspin
Sidespin, lob, volley on grass and hard surfaces
Near the basketball courts, pickup games
Pitch and putt in your backyard, soaring wedges
Up near the rosebushes, followed
Sitting in bleachers, thinking of passing
Shots down the line, in the stands, observing
First downs, steals, lay-ups, strikeouts
Coach yelled, encouraged, the coach in my head
Said practice, practice, repeat
Repetition, followed, matches, stands
Unobserved, serving, rushing the net, eye-to-eye
With opponents, really myself, opponents invisible
Their shots a mere distraction from my next one
Passing shots, smashes at their feet, strings
Taut gut, racket press, wood, small sweet spot
Mixed doubles with Babbie, bikes with baskets
Cans of balls that whoosh when fresh
Intense sun, beach later, surf, blanket
Books to read before September, reading lists
Boardwalks, ice cream movied films on the pier
Pizza, front porch talks, far away from March madness
The city but a dream, schemes, followed
Paths divide, brothers collide, My Father still follows
And so do I, quietly smiling, brackets, eliminations
Big ten Madison based badgered
Still followed, after all these balls, shots, spins
Free throws, penalties, fouls, tap ins
Out of bounds without white lines
Leading north along a highway, I traveled elsewhere
My playbooks, plans, deployments, campaigns
To make a peace, pieces, fairway drives, approaches
Pars and bogeys, birdies, spitballs, leather gloves
Helmets, rifled sniper rounds downrange, target
Identified, zone defense, man-to-man, slam
Dunked in deep oceans at night, face paint, black
Uniforms, we playing our games
Running our plays, terrain maps, chalk talks
Rehearsals, practice, train, rain, fieldhouses
Staging areas, azimuth distance, objectives
My playbooks locked away, yours fresh grow
Each day, mine dusty, racket in the attic
Balls flat can’t bounce, whoosh remembered
You’re followed, we watch, Dad talks glories
Stories of games gone by, yours not mine
He never saw on of my matches, match point.

Pictured, Bo Ryan, coach of the University of Wisconsin Men's Basketball Team from

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