I was always the last kid
for teams in gym class.
Yet my best friend always
to be the team captain,
picking who he wanted;
The kids who offered him
the best chance to win.
I didn’t blame him.
I understood his position—
and also my weakness.
After all, I was in T-Ball
through second grade.
We never spoke directly about it
nor did we speak, when he
stopped returning my phone calls
after the first day of high school.
Again, I understood his position.
He picked players to make himself
the big winner.
Still, I always wanted to tell him
how bad I felt for him
when he never made it,
year-after-year, trying out
for the basketball team, there.
We did talk a lot about those things—
every afternoon, playing afterschool
until his mom called him home for supper.
We knew it all about one another—
our hopes— our dreams—our wishes
for what our futures might hold.
He had always talked up playing
in the NBA— and up until that first day,
he was the best player in our class.
I wanted to tell him, though—
every year the list was posted.
I got it. I understood his disappointment.
And I certainly could relate
about getting cut, or not being picked
at all. It’s a shame.
I could have been a real friend.
And all these years later, tell him
what it feels like to be a winner
now and then.