He always had a smile
the warmest I ever encountered
warming not just the receiver
but the room
hard to believe he was an international sportsman – almost.
Before the epidemic of sponsorship
and annual world championships
it was the second most sought-after –
the Commonwealth Games
every four years – two after the Olympics.
He qualified as an endurance athlete but
the age of moustachioed mouthing sportsmen
back chatting and swearing –
the authorities strike back, sheriffs ride into town.
A driver ignores the road closure
causing him to break stride, pace, concentration,
a two-handed tattoo on roof and
locker room synopsis of birthright and intellect.
At the finish line, the standard has been achieved –
congratulations – but, you’re wanted in the officials’ tent.
Poor behaviour, bad example, disrepute. DISQUALIFED.
Later, second thoughts –
he could go.
He said they hadn’t stood by him – the driver clearly transgressed –
the seconds important – vital –
He said they’d let him down. He said “ no,”
he would have said it with a smile.