Age 12, thought is warped by the maturity continuum
childhood vanishing, but evident
adulthood in the dressing room – yet to take the stage,
football, still legitimate anointer of kings and kingdom.
Sometimes the coach called us men –
but we knew he was appealing to something not yet present
boys, for a few years to come.
Our team had only one star,
two or three craftsmen,
the rest, tradesman-like,
but a champion team
bound for championship – until the final.
A team from the threadbare suburbs wins by two points
after a touchdown is disallowed
when the line umpire, a parent from the opposition,
signals our player stepped out, when he hadn’t.
Protests, but the referee is firm –
the flag was up,
he looks at the linesman, who nods. Closed. No appeal.
Back on the better suburbed part of town
we drank hurt, bewildered Cokes.
Our coach said he didn’t see
but sometimes people do the wrong thing, for the right reason.