poetry

I love a good poem. I’m not much at penning them, but I sure do like to scratch at it from time to time. I can’t spontaneously decide to write one. I need inspiration to shackle words together. The clouds parted early and the sun rose bright this morning in Tullahoma. I went for a run and added another new city to the list of places run.  Our 12 boys readied themselves for our first game in the State baseball championships, to be played later today. Kids threw balls, chased each other and truth be known they thought more about swimming in the hotel pool than the game before them.

The flag waved in the wind, antsy boys fidgeted as the anthem played and a voiced rang out “play ball.” Crowds oohed and ahhed as kids made spectacular plays. Moms and dads snapped disk cards full of pictures and I thought to myself this might make a poem. I sat back and took it all in. Shaved ice, sunflower seeds, Rawlings gloves, Easton bats, Nike cleats, green grass and fresh chalk lines ran through my mind and just then a loud “ooooohh” from the crowd.

A kid had stood at the plate.  He seemed uncharacteristically relaxed – feet shoulder width apart, weight on the back foot, a slight bend in the knees. He slowly waved his bat back and forth, eyes fixed on the ball as if trying to see a single stitch. The pitch was on its way and the bat went slightly back. It was on the outside of the plate. His hips rotated and his hands went to the ball. He didn’t try and pull it.  He went with the pitch, kept his shoulders square and drove it deep into the gap in right center. Then it occurred to me. I had searched for poetry all over the park and there it was right before me, written on a diamond by an 8- year-old kid.

I launched at daylight for a 55-mile bike ride across Kentucky farmland. It was a perfect morning for riding – overcast, cooler, even drizzling rain at times. My mind was on the State baseball championships, which begin this weekend in Tullahoma. I mentally reviewed the batting order as I pedaled through corn fields and tobacco barns. I saw at least a dozen deer and twice that many turkey.

Suddenly, 36-miles into my ride, I snapped back to reality as I saw movement approaching from a parallel road. He would intersect my road in about a quarter of a mile. He was moving quickly. It soon became clear that he would reach the intersection first and thus take the lead. Pride is a terrible thing.

He didn’t slow at all as he merged onto my path.  I put a couple of crank bending strokes into the pedals and jumped on his wheel.  I glanced down to see how fast we were going.

I surveyed the terrain ahead and saw that we had a short climb coming up then a long downhill.  I’d have to time it perfectly.  I inventoried my energy, took a quick swig of water and prepared to attack. We hit the climb and I popped up out of the saddle and pulled alongside.  I glanced over at the buggy jockey and he gave me a snarl then turned back to his steed. A loud shrill emanated from his lips then he gave a sharp rap with the reins and yelled, “Yaaaaaaa.”  Fast trot quickly turned canter which became a run and it was on. I danced on the pedals to hold my position until we crested the hill then I downshifted, tucked and sped away with another Tour de Bluegrass victory!