Saga of a Football Star
                 by Corinne H. Smith


Written in 1974, when I was 16, an avid football fan, angry that the Miami Dolphins had beaten the Minnesota Vikings in the Super Bowl, and inspired by reading a long poem about a fictional rock musician. Published in the Hempfield High School literary magazine, Whispering Minds.

I played some ball when I was young
Thought it was hard but a whole lot of fun
So when I got to college I decided to play
We practiced and practiced and practiced all day
The coach was tough and we hated his guts
But I have to admit that he really trained us
He made our team the best it could be
Though the first three years saw little action for me
The summer before my senior year
I realized that I couldn’t come near
To the guy who had made records before
So I drilled and drilled and I drilled some more
As a wide receiver I could never run well
But now I could run just faster than hell
I played better than I ever dreamed I could
And the coach knew too that I was good
He put me into every game
Pretty soon all the fans repeated my name
If you’d ask, they’d say I was the best in the land
When I walked on, they all gave me a hand
That was the season we were never beaten
And all the other teams thought we were cheatin’
They said that I was really too old
And that this was somethin’ that had been untold
But they were wrong, those were just excuses
‘Cause the best team wins and the other one loses
And they were mad to admit they were wrong
They just couldn’t believe I was really that strong
They doubted me and some even laughed
When I was picked in a pro team draft
For me it was a far-fetched dream come true
But I felt that it was somethin’ that I could pursue
So I boarded the bus and headed for the town
I knew I couldn’t let my reputation go down
During our training I worked harder than ever
And I just kept gettin’ better and better
By the first of the season I could really fly
Do the 100-yard dash in the blink of an eye
But I wasn’t a starter, wouldn’t be for a while
(And the coach had to tell me this with a smile)
Tom “The Bomb” played my position
And this became my “Dethrone Tom” mission
He was good, and I guess I knew
But I thought I was pretty good too
Every week I sat alongside on the bench
I had a thirst for action that I just couldn’t quench
Though the team was superb without yours truly
Except at some times when they got unruly
And that season we went straight to the top
Seems Tom “The Bomb” just couldn’t be stopped
Until we got into the championship
When Tom got tackled and did a flip
And landed on a sore left knee
The coach had to put in little ole me
This was my big chance, ‘cause Tom was in pain
And I knew how much we had to win this game
With one minute left in the final quarter
I proved that I was no amateur
We were five points behind; a 40-yard pass
Came my way; I caught it with class
And ran all the rest of the way downfield
When I made the touchdown, my head just reeled
I had finally lived my life-long dream
And I was so happy I wanted to scream
Poor Tom just sat and watched me run
He congratulated me when it was done
But I was dazed, my thoughts beyond reason
And I thought it was the perfect end of the season
To Tom “The Bomb” it was the end
He was told his knee could not mend
As well as it had been before
He would never again be able to score
I was the one to take his place
But he made an impression I’ll never erase
I admired him and I always will
He was a man of undeniable skill
For exactly six years after that
I was the one who left men flat
And the fans just loved it and began to write
To say they’d seen me on Monday night
I had a string of followers a hundred miles long
In their eyes, I could do no wrong
Once I went back to my old high school
All the kids there thought I was real cool
I told them how they ought to begin
To have the power to run and the will to win
Just like I had done ten years before
And when I tried to stop talkin’, they pleaded for more
It was then that I knew I was on the upclimb
As a football player, I was in my prime
When I went back to the team that year
I knew this game was my career
But a punky little college kid from the East
Who weighed about 150 pounds (at least)
Came to the team and could take my place
If it happened that I got smashed in the face
I told him to get lost and when he asked me why
I told him I could throw him higher than the sky
‘Cause Tom told me that a long time ago
When I was just a punky kid that he didn’t know
But this kid was different, this kid named Jim
And, well, I had a long talk with him
I saw a lot of things that looked just like me
I knew he’d do well if I had an injury
And sure enough, his time came
My fourth time in the championship game
When all my fans the whole world over
Could feel that guy as he crunched my shoulder
For Jim, this was his first real test
And I was sure he’d give it his best
I watched him and knew how Tom had felt
‘Cause I saw my image start to melt
But to me Jim had really become a friend
And when I needed, I could count on him again
For a couple of years after that, we both played
Till Jim was the victim of a trade
The year after that, I retired
Now Jim was the guy who was greatly admired
And I was in the background, all alone
I remembered my mission of wanting to dethrone
Tom “The Bomb” and now I was out
And Jim was Number One without a doubt
All those many years of football I will never forget
The great plays I’ve run, the great people I’ve met
But it still just seems like some wild dream
The days I reigned over that football team

































































© 1974, 2018  Corinne H. Smith

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