Here’s a common story in the world of would-be writers.
There’s not a thing about this tale that…sadly…isn’t true.
Your manuscript is finally done, you’ve proofed it several times, and, after waiting several months, your editor is through.
You try to represent yourself to publishers you feel
are sure to love your work - based on their advertising claims -
Only to discover that they’ll only take submissions
from writers who have agents…or already famous names!
The mem’ry this evokes in me is terribly parallel.
So clearly I still see the fleeting figure that I chased
That Sunday afternoon we gathered, as we often did,
to play our favorite football game: “Two-hands-below-the-waist.”
Only nine showed up that day (we almost played with eight),
but brother, Marty, called a friend, and so, we had our ten.
We became concerned when Marty pointed at the end zone
and told the guy, “If we can get the ball to there…we win,
“But…if somebody touches you - two-hands-below-the-waist -
you have to stop…the ‘play’ is done…and then you start again.
In 4 attempts we need to move the ball down - 2 white lines -
to get another 4 attempts…it’s called a ‘first and ten.’ ”
Everybody realized this guy had never played,
but Marty’s team would get him…after all…he’d called the guy.
They could only hope he’d do the things they told him to,
and probably felt that…if they lost…he’d be the reason why.
I remember, vividly, quite early in the game
(it couldn’t have been ten minutes since the playing had begun),
They sent him down the field about ten yards to catch a pass.
He actually caught it pretty clean…and then began to run.
We’d fin’ly lost possession only ten yards from their end zone,
so…consequently… Marty’s guy had ninety yards to go.
I thought I had him cornered when I went to make the tag,
and how he got away from me - I swear I’ll never know!
But “get away” he did…so there I was, in hot pursuit.
And, as it was expected, I was quickly closing ground.
After all…my room at home had trophies wall to wall,
and most of them for track...I was the fastest guy around.
But as I tried my best to close the gap on Marty’s buddy
(and I was running very hard - I thought my lungs would bust),
Just as I was getting close…he shifted into high…
and even at my strongest pace…he left me in the dust!
A very average looking chap…he didn’t seem the type…
yet, there he was…the fastest guy that we had ever seen.
The makings of a super star, yet no one knew his name
before the day he blew our minds…and that is what I mean
When I proclaim the foolishness of closing ears and eyes
to anyone because you simply…do not know their name.
Those you’ve never heard of might contribute something special, and I assert - it’s often wise to…let them in the game.
This piece is based on a true story from back in my high school days - in the 60s. A foreign exchange student, from Africa, named Jimmy Gee, (sp?) who I'm sure had never experienced "track", ran away from me, a blue ribbon track stud, like I was on crutches. It was awesome! I hope he's done well.