By Richard Katrovas
That I would even use the phrase suggests
A false yet useful worldliness, a scope
Far greater than my caste would indicate.
The phrase signals, “I’ve lived abroad! I’ve watched
The Premier League in European pubs!”
In fact I hate the game; its ethos rests
On boring strategies and rules that cope,
Merely, with competition’s link to fate,
How luck and skill dovetail in every botched
Clear kick on goal, and every header rubs
Against the grain of what is beautiful
In sport, at least to my Yankee Doodle eyes.
Give me smashmouth football over soccer.
Give me concussions, shattered bones, ripped muscles,
Strategies of season-long attrition.
Give me huge men heaving their bountiful
Frames against each other with such grace that size
Seems incidental to the role of stalker
Of fleet backs and fleeter ends, men who bustle
Along the line of scrimmage on a mission.
A hundred and sixty-pound defensive end,
I was the scourge of JV quarterbacks.
I blitzed on every down, so spent the game
With most the action at my back; the coach
Didn’t seem to care; he was drunk on power
And vodka, said my job was to defend
Right flank from sweeps and register some sacks.
Helter skelter, I dreamed of gridiron fame.
Much less than mediocre, I could not broach
The fact of pain, the realm where bruises flower.
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