Victory Cheers

Posted on July 22, 2016


In Monkey Screams a highschool football coach insists:

Even those among their classmates

who’ll go on to property and wealth

won’t forget these players’ names

or what they did out on the field.

Highschool is molding time for adolescents. Self-awareness expands, not always pleasantly, and with it doubts, fears, aspirations, embarrassments. Importances become exaggerated, personalities exalted or degraded. Individual identity merges into group identity and the group identity swells in importance. The “we” becomes the “who I am.” No longer are highschool athletic teams a “they” but an “us”—football teams in particular. We won! We won! elicits elation. Losing evokes tears, not from the players but from sideline “we” whose identity is attached to the team’s successes and failures. Touchdown passes, blocked kicks, last second interceptions become engraved in memory.

The football coach concludes:

When they become old men on canes

or strapped in convalescent beds

they’ll still hear high school trumpets blare,

feel blood surge as crashing pads

fill their universe with victory cheers.

Monkey Screams, FutureCycle Press, 2015.

Posted in: Poetry