Archives for posts with tag: sports

licensed stevanzz
Postcards Home
by Neil David Mitchell

Bones of the brother
brought to Christ;
martyrdom stories
come to life.
*
Fifty-two types
of icy feast;
twice Tom Morris
rests in peace.
*
Ping of the oldest
swings in town;
castles of sand
built up, washed down.
*
Sprint like Liddell
or take a seat;
Swilken Burn bridge
is crossed by feet.
*
From east, west shorelines
surfboards speed;
sniper gulls glint
their beady-eyed greed…

PHOTO: St. Andrews Old Course, fairway and stone bridge on hole 18 (Fife, Scotland) by Seevanzz, used by permission.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Old Course at St Andrews is considered the oldest golf course in the world and commonly known as “The Home of Golf.” First played on the Links at St Andrews in the early 15th century, golf became increasingly popular in Scotland until 1457, when James II of Scotland banned the game because he felt that young men were playing too much golf instead of practicing archery. The restrictions remained in force until 1502, when James IV became a golfer and removed the ban.

Mitchell ND St Andrews
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem is taken from a series of poems called St. Andrews Days which appears in my recent collection Seasonal Lines. I tried to create little snapshots of everyday life mixed with some of the history of the town, during a trip to the “Home of Golf” on the east coast of Scotland.

PHOTO: The author at Swilken Burn Bridge, 18th hole, St Andrews Old Course (2008).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Neil David Mitchell, from Glasgow, Scotland, writes poetry, prose and music, as well as balancing the challenging and wonderful roles of being a High School English Teacher, a husband and a father. He recently published his first collection of poems Seasonal Lines. His further adventures can be followed on Twitter @ndsnigh or at his Amazon author page.

Blue_Jays_v_White_Sox_1977
What Runs Through
by Patrick Connors

We went to the Blue Jays game one Saturday
to see that damn Yankee Derek Jeter one last time.

Actually, it was also the first time
we saw him play in person,
at least together.

We participated in a standing ovation for Jeter—
something I never thought would happen.

Best of all, or almost best of all,
Jose Bautista hit a home run, and
our Blue Jays were victorious!

In the days of our youth, rarely did a week pass by
without attending at least one game.

The two of us would meet at Eglinton GO Station,
and, after a short wait, quickly get away from
what we didn’t want to talk about.

We would talk about Moseby, Barfield and Bell—
and Dave Stieb and Dr. Henkenstein—

and whether this would be the year
we would finally break through—

while we passed by the factories and vacant lots,
subdivisions and shopping malls of suburbia.

We would arrive at Exhibition Stadium,
already a monument,
more historical than functional.

We knew guys who worked there—
they said rats ran
’round the bleachers
just before batting practice.

Where did the rats go during the game?
Was it safe to go to the washroom,
especially on a cold day?

After the game we would go back to Eglinton,
and, being underage, use creative means to acquire beer.

Shortly after dark, we would enter
the forest inside McCowan Road Park
to drink.

Every time we dug a new fire pit
or post holes to support a log to sit on,
we always uncovered decades of garbage.

The forest, the park, and the public school
were all built on a dump.

Purple poles positioned throughout the park
allowed pungent methane gas to escape

preventing mini-earthquakes from happening—
at least most of the time.

The creek, basically sewage,
running through McCowan Road Park
originates in the Don River.

We drank the beer complaining that it cost
nearly twelve dollars for twelve bottles.

We talked about the game, who was pitching
the next day, and when we would go again.

Or, we might plan to go to the video arcade,
or to play burby, if circumstances allowed.

We would nurse our last beers,
even talk about things rarely talked about,

in an effort to stay out long enough,
for everyone at our homes to fall asleep.

Now, we don’t go to games much anymore,
although we are as close as ever.

Maybe it’s because we can’t spend
as much time with each other.

Maybe it’s because we no longer
innocently believe in baseball’s ability
to take us away from our problems.

Maybe it’s because we don’t have
anything at home to run away from.

PHOTO: The Toronto Blue Jays play the Chicago White Sox in Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium on April 8. 1977 in the second game of the Blue Jays’ inaugural season. The initial game, on April 6, 1977, was played in a Toronto snowstorm. During the three-game series, the Blue Jays won the first game 9-5, lost the second game 3-2, and won the final game 3-1. (Photo by Robert Taylor, Stirling, Canada, via Wikipedia.)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patrick Connors’ first chapbook, Scarborough Songs, was published by Lyricalmyrical Press in 2013, and charted on the Toronto Poetry Map. He is grateful to Silver Birch Press for their genero(u)sity in broadening his audience in 2015. Other publication credits include Spadina Literary Review, Tamaracks, released in spring 2019 by Lummox Press, and Tending the Fire, released spring 2020 by the League of Canadian Poets. His first full-length collection is forthcoming.

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, NY
Hall of Fame
by Steven Deutsch

We were not
a wayfaring
family.

My dad drove
a taxi nights
while mom worked days

at a discount store
downtown.
How is it

no one speaks
of the weariness
of the poor?

A six-block trip
to the local
chop suey joint

after a double
feature
was quite a night.

But the summer
I turned 12
dad announced

a vacation
to Cooperstown
at the Baseball Hall of Fame.

There was not
a boy in all
of Brownsville

that didn’t envy
me that trip.
And, yes I milked it.

The three of us made
a week of it.
meandering through

the back roads
of New England—
admiring all that green,

while my dad
spoke of Ty
and Babe—

Honus and Christy
and Walter as if
speaking of old friends

and my mom
told me of my grandfather—
a man I never got to meet.

And the Museum?
Well that was
wonderful too.

PHOTO: National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Cooperstown, New York by Kenneth C. Zirkel, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I read the prompt, I thought immediately of our trip to Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.  I hope the poem captures the essence of that trip and of my parents. The details of the poem are not historically accurate—they never are in my work.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: After a glamorous childhood in Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York, Steve (and his wife, Karen) settled in State College, Pennsylvania. They have one son—the guitarist for the avant-garde group, Gang Gang Dance. Over the last two years, his work has appeared in more than two dozen print and on-line journals. He was twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He is the current poetry editor for Centered Magazine. His chapbook, Perhaps You Can, was published by Kelsay Press in 2019. His full length poetry book, The Persistence of Memory, has just been published by Kelsay.

20183892 - mount sneffels range, colorado, usa
Mount Sneffels
by Ann Christine Tabaka

The mountain stood before me,
staring me down,
with arrogance and pride.
I would conquer him today,
or die trying.
Ice axe in hand
I began my ascent,
one chilling step at a time.
Wind was his ally
as it forced against me,
fracturing my will,
blistering my flesh.
Sun beat down with vengeance,
blinding glare obstructing view.
Fighting for my hold,
creeping inch by inch,
I rose to new heights,
I had never reached before.
Had hours, or a lifetime passed
before I reached the summit?
14,158 feet of rock,
snow, and ice lay below.
Joy overtook exhaustion.
Outstretched arms towards the sky,
I stood above the clouds.
The mountain stood below me now!
Mountain was real,
mountain is a metaphor.
I have defeated my own fears.

Published by Impspired, January 2020

PHOTO: “Mount Sneffels (Colorado)” by Don Yanedomam, used by permission.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Mount Sneffels is the highest summit of the Sneffels Range in the Rocky Mountains of North America. The prominent 14,158-foot “fourteener” is located in the Mount Sneffels Wilderness of Uncompahgre National Forest, 6.7 miles west by south of the City of Ouray in Ouray County, Colorado, United States. (Source: Wikipedia.)

PHOTO: The author (center) in 1992, when she and companions climbed Mount Sneffels (Ouray County, Colorado).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ann Christine Tabaka was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize in Poetry. Winner of Spillwords Press 2020 Publication of the Year, her bio is featured in the “Who’s Who of Emerging Writers 2020,” published by Sweetycat Press. Internationally published and the recipient poetry awards from numerous publications., her work has been translated into Sequoyah-Cherokee Syllabics as well as Spanish. The author of 11 poetry books, she has recently been published in several micro-fiction anthologies and short story publications. She resides in Delaware with her husband and four cats. Visit her at annchristinetabaka.com and on her Amazon author’s page.

Yankee Stadium in New York
Yankee Stadium
by Patrick T. Reardon

Look! There, at first base, that’s
me, leaping right full-length to nab
a flaming, screeching liner from the
brawn bat of Willie McCovey — in
my dreams — following Saint Lou
Gehrig, still ox strong until, at 37,
martyred to robber disease, luckiest
man at foreign microphone, here
near first base bag but far distant,
baseball tragedy, wasted away,
weak who had been so powered,
smiling and glee-ed behind his thick
New York accent, high voice, broad
continent of back, naked to the
heat in the slo-mo newsreel shot
of a sun-bake batting practice, a
.340 hitter, MVP, good guy, goofy
in the cowboy one-reeler, playing
himself and stopping the bad-guy
bar-fight by throwing pool balls at
them, giggling, knocking sense into
them, as America was going to have
to knock sense into the Nazis — too
late for millions, world of tragedies —
in the war that started after he was
gone, hugged by the Babe who lived
a decade longer, gaunt at the end,
who had been so beefy over dainty
feet, leaning on a bat here, pained
in painful loose uniform, who had
been Falstaff to Lou’s straight man,
hot-dog-eater to Lou’s rare steak
and mashed potatoes, hot dog to
Lou’s altar boy, as I was, amid the
church gold and echo chants, alien
incense and soaring arches, heaven
-like, who hit .111 in Little League,
talentless on the diamond except
for Major League yearning to follow
Lou with my first baseman’s glove
which, still, I take to the Stadium
(original and new) every time I go,
who will never play first base for
the Yankees, will never nab a
ballistic liner off anyone’s bat
but, wherever here, will wear
Lou’s gleam-white pinstriped home
jersey, 4. Look! There I am.

PHOTO:  Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York City, NY, October 2019 by Gabriel Murad, used by permission. Opened in 2009, the stadium replaced the original Yankee Stadium, which operated from 1923-2008.

GehrigLou NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I have many stories about how I — a Chicagoan who loves Chicago and has lived here all my life — fell in love with the Yankees and remain in love.  The deepest reason is Lou Gehrig.

PHOTO: Lou Gehrig (1903-1941) was a first baseman with the New York Yankees for 17 seasons, from 1923-1939.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Baseball great Lou Gehrig was renowned for his prowess as a hitter and for his durability, which earned him the nickname “The Iron Horse.” In 1939, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and was the first MLB player to have his uniform number (4) retired by a team. In mid-1939 be was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, an incurable neuromuscular illness now commonly referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” The disease forced him to retire at age 36, and was the cause of his death two years later. The pathos of his farewell from baseball was capped off by his iconic 1939 “Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth” speech at Yankee Stadium. (Source: Wikipedia)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Patrick T. Reardon is the author of eight books, including the poetry collection Requiem for David and Faith Stripped to Its Essence, a literary-religious analysis of Shusaku Endo’s novel Silence. His poetry has appeared inSilver Birch Press, San Antonio Review, Eclectica, Esthetic Apostle, Ground Fresh Thursday, Literary Orphans, Rhino, Spank the Carp, Main Street Rag, The Write Launch, Meat for Tea, Tipton Poetry Journal, UCity Review, Under a Warm Green Linden, andThe Write City. Reardon, who worked as a Chicago Tribune reporter for 32 years, has published essays and book reviews widely in such publications as the Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Crain’s Chicago Business, National Catholic Reporter, and U.S. Catholic. His novella Babe was short-listed by Stewart O’Nan for the annual Faulkner-Wisdom Contest. His latest book, The Loop: The “L” Tracks that Shaped and Saved Chicago, will be released on November 26, 2020, and is available for preorder. His Pump Don’t Work blog can be found at patricktreardon.com.

rbt w
The Great One
by Robert Whiteley

When the house is quiet
and all those beneath its roof asleep
I shut the bedroom doors behind me
and creep downstairs
to the kitchen

In the dark, my hands shake
as I fumble for the phone
and dial somebody who died
sixteen months earlier

the phone rings once,
twice, three times,
but it’s never the voice I want to hear

instead, I wait patiently
until the voice on the other end
of the line finishes telling me

that this number is no longer in service
so please hang up and try again

this is a recording

hang up. try again. let go. move on
if life was only that simple

if only the voice I wanted to hear,
the voice I now hear only in my head
could talk to me, tell me things like

what my first words might have been

or what my mother looked like
that afternoon in 1965
when she nearly killed him
with her car

or answer even the most prosaic question
like whatever happened
to my Wayne Gretzky autograph
when the house I grew up in, the house
we grew up in
fell to the ground in the autumn
of 2011

if only life was that simple

IMAGE: The author, around the time he met Wayne Gretzky in 1981.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I met Wayne (The Great One) Gretzky in 1981, in Burlington, Ontario, when he came to see his brother Brent play hockey against some of my friends who were playing for Burlington’s rep team. That night my babysitter (I was eight) cut and mounted Wayne’s autograph onto a white piece of cardboard. I kept it on my Empire Strikes Back cork board for years but don’t remember when it went missing. When my father sold the house I grew up in in 2010, I thought the mystery of where my missing Wayne Gretzky autograph may be answered. It wasn’t and my father died in 2015 at the age of 70.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Robert Whiteley
lives with his family just beyond the shadowy reach of the CN Tower. His poems have appeared both in Canada and in the United States. He owns an online antiquarian bookstore called “The Poet’s Pulpit”

bob-cousy
How We Grew
by Steve Deutsch

The summer I turned seventeen
a girl I never knew leapt from her 8th floor window.
She fell soundlessly
to land some twenty feet from our pick-up game,
just as Fox’s one-hand set shot,
arced and graceful as a prayer,
clanged against the unforgiving rim.
My best friend, Red, threw up by the foul line.

It was a summer of sorting out.
In Vietnam, our country had need of its children.
Some of us — good at math,
good with words,
good at taking tests
were off to college — four years of a certain kind of diligence.
The others donned helmet and gun
and tried to make a deal
with a god they had no use for,
so that they might come home again.

I never knew what made her jump
on that perfect day in June,
when the wind, for once
blew from the north,
taking with it the stink of landfill
just five minutes south of us
in Canarsie Bay.
I often wondered just what it was
that defied her self-forgiveness —
how fortune shakes the die
in her palsied hand
and how we must learn to live with the lie.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Picture of Bob Cousy (how I saw myself on the basketball court at 17).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is nearly nonfiction. A girl I did not know, of about my age, did leap from her window to her death — though I did not see it. And my friends did divide between going to college and going to Vietnam. Those of us who went to school had an infinitely easier time of it. We have, however, had to come to terms with our good fortune — a process that in my case seems like it will go on forever.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Steve Deutsch, a semi-retired practitioner of the fluid mechanics of mechanical hearts and heart valves, lives with his wife Karen — a visual artist — in State College, Pennsylvania . Steve writes poetry, short fiction and the blog stevieslaw.wordpress.com. His most recent publications have been in Eclectica Magazine, The Ekphrastic Review, New Verse News, Silver Birch Press, Misfit Magazine and One-sentence poems. As an adult, he had the good fortune to sit in on two poetry classes taught by first-class poets and teachers. He has been writing poetry ever since.

gary-heath1-1962-oroville-high-ca-graduation-photo
My Dead Tooth
by G. Louis Heath

17 was a helluva a year, all sorts of
conflict and turbulence. I was trying
to figure out who I was, even though

I graduated among the top in my class.
Sports was the way to climb the status
pole at Oroville High in the foothills of

the Sierras where I grew up. I did not
like football but baseball a bit. So, I
combined brain and ball by managing

the varsity baseball team. Road trips
detracted from my studies. I mightily
regret that 55 years later. I could have

read some great books that only now
I am catching up on. I did one good
thing as manager, broke up a fight on

the team bus. The third baseman, as big
as me at 220, hit me flush in the mouth,
caused a front tooth to wiggle for the

longest time. The nerve was dead. I just
took the blow, like the Freedom Riders,
though I have thrown some vicious, angry,

imaginary counterpunches over the years.
My dead tooth, now the stained one, says
it all for my senior year at 17. I want to add

just one more thing: Just before graduating,
I cut my varsity manager letter into little felt
pieces, and I do mean very little felt pieces.

PHOTO: The author’s graduation photo, Oroville High School (Oroville, California, 1962).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: G. Louis Heath, Ph.D., Berkeley, 1969, is Emeritus Professor, Ashford University, Clinton, Iowa. He enjoys reading his poems at open mics. He often hikes along the Mississippi River, stopping to work on a poem he pulls from his back pocket, weather permitting. His books include Leaves Of Maple: An Illinois State University Professor’s Memoir of Seven Summers’ Teaching in Canadian Universities, 1972-1978, Long Dark River Casino, and Redbird Prof: Poems Of A Normal U, 1969-1981. He has published poems in a wide array of journals.

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Winged Helmet
by Isobel Cunningham

I got a bike for Christmas when I was ten years old. After a spectacular head-over- heels crash into a ditch full of stinging nettles I abandoned it. My bike was forgotten in the flurry of our family’s preparation for immigration to Canada. Montreal’s hilly terrain and city traffic made my parents understandably reluctant to get me another bike.   Years passed and in spite of lessons from friends and a sporty ex-husband, it seemed like a lost cause.

Last summer I met a man who heard my profound frustration at my failure. “I don’t know what it would take to get me on a bike again,”I told him.

We went for brunch one Sunday morning. “Hey a bike rental! With tandems! Let’s give it a try.” Was it the effect of two mimosas or his hopeful smile that made me fight down my panic? Joe introduced me to Maria, the young manager of the shop. They exchanged a few words in Spanish and she gave me a helmet.  “This is a magic helmet,” she whispered. “I’ll just adjust the strap.” I was shaking, but I decided to believe in the magic of the helmet. “Hermes’s helmet,” I silently dubbed it. How could I fall with Hermes’s helmet on my head? Joe’s broad back was before me on the tandem. I clutched the handlebars, we pushed down together on the right pedals and off we went!

I was on a bike, gliding along the path beside the Lachine Canal! I relaxed in the otherworldly protection of the shiny black helmet.  A long pleasant ride ended with warm congratulations from Maria and a photo shoot. Almost sixty years since I last rode a bike! There are all kinds of magic, after all.

PHOTO: The author in her Winged Helmet (September 25, 2016 at the Lachine Canal in Montreal, Quebec, Canada).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When people saw the picture of me on a bike they gasped. My inability to ride a bike had always been met with incredulity from strangers and mystified resignation from friends. I could hardly believe it myself when I felt the wind in my face and saw the canal slipping by on that sunny Sunday this past fall. The “Magic Helmet” imbued me with courage, with confidence.  Later, I was delighted when my friend and the playful manager of the bike rental opened up about the kind ruse they had played on me. This is my first opportunity to explain how a long-standing fear was banished….as if by magic!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Isobel Cunningham writes poetry and short fiction. She published a book of poetry in 2015 and is working on a collection of short stories. A volunteer docent at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, she loves the outdoors and is a passionate gardener.

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Skiing Attire
by Mary Langer Thompson

On that first Thanksgiving
with my new spouse,
I asked, “Don’t they stop this thing
to let you off?”
”No, you ski off,” he answered.
But I didn’t tilt those boards up fast enough
and my furry snow hat
that I bought to keep warm and look cute
never did provide padding in the right spots.

PHOTO: The author in her fur hat in Big Bear, California.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Langer Thompson writes poetry, articles, short stories, and children’s books. A retired school principal, she now writes daily in her home in Apple Valley, California. She’s been married to her “spouse,” Dave, for 45 years, but has never learned to ski.