Friday, October 11, 2013

The Quarterback

The skill of quarterbacking is a science mixed with art
Reading defenses like Chaucer, to avoid a false start.
The gridiron was my pallet, the football was my brush
I called up plays from history and checked out of a rush.
Eleven men all synchronized, a dance of muscled wrath
To put a pass on target would take physics, angles, math.
My audibles, my hand signals, may have seemed to you like antics
But communicating cryptically takes a knowledge of semantics.
The ball was snapped, on came the blitz like "wolves upon the fold"
A moment to be photographed and recalled when we're old.

The moment slowed down, crystallized, the audience grew dim.
Philosophy took center stage: "why should I pass to him?
Is he open? What's that mean? Who can truly say?
Is open just a retroactive rationalization for throwing the ball his way?
And wherefore competition when mortality's assured?
Is football really a moral ill of which society must be cured?
Do we encourage violence with our play upon the field?
Or do we stand for courage, telling kids to never yield?"

The implications myriad, I froze, my head ablaze
what passed were only seconds but to me they seemed like days.
And though I feel it all loomed large, apparently what sticks
in the mind of my coach was the strip-sack returned for six.
I still believe that football is a complicated wench
but the skill of back-up quarterbacking is mostly holding a clipboard on the bench.

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