Football is My Wife, Baseball is My Mistress (Ode to Deion Sanders)
Score. 1989 Rookie.
is what the top of your first football card says.
at the bottom, a Falcons helmet,
the old, red one with the black logo.
You’re wearing a black Falcons hat, black logo
and the white jersey with red numbers.
“This is the outer manifestation of an inner condition,”
you’re thinking through your pensive stare.
Football player in the 80s jersey with the 90s hat,
football player in a football jersey with the baseball hat,
caught between worlds--
Reaganomics flash and Clinton Era...flash.
Jerri curl bouncing off your neck in still frame,
moving and statuesque,
wondering how it’d feel
to get a hit in the World Series and an interception in the Super Bowl,
calculating the feasibility
of helicoptering from centre of the outfield
to the corner downfield.1
Torn between your wife,
who prefers football
so you can spend more time
with your family
and your mom,
who prefers baseball
so you’d be less likely to get hurt
and your father,
who prefers you do both,
so you could show the world how good you are.
The odd bounce of colours
in the cardboard frame,
the odd bounce of the ball,
dancing in stadium corners,
you spinning towards third
before the spinning fielder
can even gain his equilibrium.
The excitement of your triples
the excitement of your punt returns
defenders grasping at air,
spinning into nothing, losing equilibrium
the odd bounce as you strut into the end zone
balanced by the odd bounce of your legacy:
New York, San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta.
A few other stops along the way
yet these are the high points
as you high stepped in two sports
into sports immortality.
1 On October 11, 1992, Sanders famously played a football game in Miami then took a helicopter and a private jet to Pittsburgh to a game that would helps his team make the World Series.
Nick Bush is an associate professor of English at Motlow State Community College and an English PhD student at Middle Tennessee State University as well as an amateur standup comic in Nashville who writes fiction and poetry when he's not watching the Titans or cooking low carb meals. He co-hosts the "Nick & Garrett Get Serious about Jokes" podcast and co-edits the Mosaic literary magazine.
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