Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Football Poet

Today, at the job I am trying SO hard to love right now, I had a moment.

The moment came in Senior English class.

I had a kids write down all the "shoulds" they get from everyone in their lives:

They should get good grades
They should go to college
They should lose weight
They should date more
They should date less
They should make new friends
They should go on a mission
They should do better
They should be more
They should be doctors
They should be football players

Then I had them write a list of all the "wants" they secretly hold in their hearts

I want to be a singer
I want to be happy
I want to my mom to leave me alone
I want to go to college, not go on a mission
I want to be a dancer
I want to learn to play the guitar
I want to be something
I want true love
I want to be peaceful

One Senior. Football player. Tall. Perfect for the sport. The epitome of a dream Quarter Back.

"I should play football."

"You don't want to play football?" I was shocked, honestly. On the outside, it seems like football is his entire life and passion.

"No, Miss."

"What do you want?"

He hesitated.

"It's ok. This is a safe place."

" I, well, I want to do, you know, art. Like poetry. I want to be a poet." He said it in such a small whisper. And, in high school English, I have to thank God that no one laughed. They couldn't. Not when this big, hulking football player said it so clearly, so quietly, and with such emotion.


Nubian said...


Holly said...

bravo, for both of you.

Michelle said...

i loved this post, thanks for sharing.

Rowena said...

that made me cry.

there are things to love.

Lori said...

Bravo to him who dares to speak from his heart. Bravo to the teacher that gave him a safe place to do so. You rock! Every student should have such a teacher as you. Please don't ever doubt for one moment that you are exactly where you are suppose to be right now. XX

Jenny said...

Wow, this is a great story. I hope he realizes his dreams.

EmilyCC said...

Oh, these stories about your students are making me cry. Just beautiful!

JMH said...

I was a poet who wanted to be a football player, but while you can teach poetry, you can't teach size -- or bones that won't snap in a fierce collision.

I like to think that poetry is the point at which deft manipulation of language intersects with the ability to communicate with the soul. How much is instinctive and how much is taught I don't know. Same as football I guess.

Thanks for the response to the other comment. I'm often nervous about how others perceive what I say.

LizF said...


Ruahines said...

Kia ora,
Why can he not do both? One is surely not exclusive of the other. Many great writers had a solid background in athletics, and the ancient Greeks had a tremendous connection between the cerebral and physical. best wishes to the young man.

Kittie Howard said...

Beautiful! You are at the right place at the right time in your life!

Holls said...

I love it. Absolutely poetic in itself.

Kimbie said...

its in those moments, when all the things hat suck so bad about your job disappear and you know why you are there.