On Picnic Day, twelve Squaw poets play softball
at Timberland's Rideout School, West of Tahoe.
Galway calls me to lead off, and Sharon's pitching
for the other team. I hit 5 of 6, 5 runs, 5 RBI's,
and with Galway's two grand slams, we win 30-14.
Now I recall my first baseball game in the schoolyard
of Queens, New York, the hurt of being the last to bat
and then told to bunt. Mom bought me baseball cards
so I could imitate the batting stance of Stan Musial.
But all I could do was swing at empty air, and
the first time I played shortstop, the ball bounced
so fast at me that I got a bloody nose.
Years later when I won the Baseball Quiz
at Junior High 172, my English teacher said,
"Now I know where your attention is!"
And today, I'm attentive to Sharon's serving soft
buttercup pitches to make heroes of us all,
how she leaped like a schoolgirl in ecstasy
when she smashed a hit and ran the bases.
When my four-year old niece Elisa didn't want
to watch the 1981 All-Star Game because
Sesame Street was on TV, she said, "I hate baseball."
I told her that she couldn't hate something that
she had never seen, so she agreed to watch it with me.
I pointed to her Len Barker of the Indians pitching
to Dave Parker of the Pirates, back-to-back singles
by Dwight Evans of the Red Sox and Carlton Fisk
of the White Sox. The National League won with
two homers by Gary Carter. When Vida Blue and
Rollie Fingers were announced as the winning
and losing pitcher, Elisa whispered in my ear:
"Uncle Peter, I really like baseball"
and when I asked her why, she said:
"Indians, Pirates, White Sox, Red Sox,
Blue Fingers, Barker and Parker
I like baseball because it rhymes."
Peter Y. Chou
Squaw Valley, 7/11/1990
Poetry Workshop with Sharon Olds
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