When you enter the gym, you'll recognize
a lot -- the shine of the floor, the height
of the rim, the high squeaks of feet
picking & rolling. A whistle will pierce
the air, and you'll gather, a rough
semicircle, hands on hips, game faces.
A face not unkind, a voice slightly
too loud, dressed in colors you hope
to wear. He'll tell you (probably a he)
that some of you won't make it.
And maybe for you, it's as if he's
teasing, mocking, as if he's certain that
you won't make it. So you
run and you throw
your whole body in.
What you fear will not go away. Let
me take it on for you. Let me worry
and sweat, all nerves & hope seated
among the other dads, watching the next
This is more a mantra to future-me than a message to my unafraid athlete son. Shamelessly modeled after William Stafford's "For My Young Friends Who Are Afraid".