Chicago Poems - Poems For Chicago
Poems about chicago. You can read the best chicago poems. Browse through all chicago poems.
The Missed Free Throws - Poem by Donal Mahoney
Tim Murnane was born to parents who lived in a small brick bungalow in a lower-middle class neighborhood in Chicago. His father worked as an electrician for Commonwealth Edison Company and his mother stayed home, a not uncommon calling for a housewife and mother following the end of World War II.
After a peaceful childhood, life for Tim as a teen-ager became more complicated. His father loved all sports, even those he didn't fully understand, and he encouraged Tim to play all of them, even the sports he himself had been unable to play due to an injury as a child.
In high school, Tim played baseball and basketball. It was basketball, however, that he really enjoyed. His father understood baseball because he followed the Chicago White Sox and used to take Tim to games. Basketball was another matter. His father didn't understand much about the game. But he always showed up for games that Tim played in even though he never said anything after a game, win or lose. One particular game, however, sticks out in Tim's mind even to this day, many decades later.
In Chicago at that time, there were park leagues to play in and if your team won its park league championship, your team advanced to the play-offs against teams from other park leagues. It was a very competitive environment.
In 1954, Tim's team won its league and advanced to the playoffs. Their first game was far from their South Side neighborhood. It involved playing in a gym on the West Side and their opponents were a team of black teen-agers. Tim and his teammates had never been out of their neighborhood before and had never played against black kids. This was a time before black athletes began to make their definitive mark in sports.
It was a very close game, with the score going back and forth. There were no racial overtones- just two good teams trying to win. And the referees called a fair game.
At halftime Tim happened to look up in the stands and he saw his father. Tim knew that he must have ridden three buses for an hour-and-half to get to the game. As usual, he sat quietly in the stands, minding his own business and being careful not to 'embarrass' his son by shouting or waving.
This was before Little League gave birth to parents who today take an active interest in their child's athletic achievements. Today, some parents coach their kids' coaches during and after games. Tim's team had a coach who wouldn't have brooked parental interference. Besides, it wasn't his father's style to interfere. He just wanted to watch the game and see how well his son would do.
The second half of the game was as tight as the first half, both teams racing up and down the court and scoring. Defense wasn't a big deal back then. The team with the best shooters usually won.
Tim was having a good night, scoring and rebounding. So were his teammates. But the other team was doing well also.
With 15 seconds left in the game, Tim was fouled and went to the free throw line. His team was down by one point and Tim had two free throws coming. He missed both of them and his team lost by one point. Tim was the high scorer for his team, scoring more than 26 points at a time when that was considered a lot of points.
After the game, the coach talked with the team in the locker room and did his best to make the kids feel better. Losing was not something they were used to. That night they had almost beaten a better team. The coach was proud of them.
Tim was sitting on a folding chair by his locker when his father walked into the room. His father commiserated briefly with the coach. And he also said a few nice words to some of Tim's teammates as he made his way over to his son.
Tim had no idea what his father wanted because he had never talked to him after a game before, whether the team had won or lost. Maybe he had been impressed by how many points Tim had scored although other aspects of the game would have been a mystery to him.
Finally his father was standing in front of him with a mystified look on his face. He bent over to whisper what he had to say. Tim can still hear his words today.
'Why did you miss those free throws? '
Tim had no idea what to say. Some free throws go in, others bounce away. The tone in his father's voice, however, left no doubt that he thought Tim should have made them.
This was a major moment in Tim's relationship with his father. He knew now that his father would always expect the best from him. So a few years later when Tim came home from college with semester grades that were all A's and one B, he thought his father would be happy. College was tough back then- no cheap A's were handed out.
'Why did you get the B? ' Tim's father asked after looking at his grades. He gave Tim the same mystified look he had given him when he had asked him about the missed free throws.
Tim thought for a moment and then offered the best answer he could muster.
'I guess I didn't study hard enough, Dad. I'll do better next semester. Just wait and see.'
Comments about The Missed Free Throws by Donal Mahoney
Poems About Chicago
- 201. The Missed Free Throws , Donal Mahoney
- 202. Valentinesday , Charles Hice
- 203. Until It Finds A Tree , gershon hepner
- 204. Hadiya Pendleton, Chicago Honor Student,.. , Luke Easter
- 205. Trumpeter Swans - Lincoln Park Zoo , Ima Ryma
- 206. She's Got That Vibe , gershon hepner
- 207. Cats At Their Bowls Lapping , Donal Mahoney
- 208. You In That Gown , Donal Mahoney
- 209. Long Ago, My Parents Were Illegal Immigr.. , Donal Mahoney
- 210. Aught , gershon hepner
- 211. Pagkalaay , RIC S. BASTASA
- 212. Henry Showed Wendy His Paintings , Donal Mahoney
- 213. Raptorex Kriegsteini , gershon hepner
- 214. Hubert Might Go Upstairs But Not To Rome , Donal Mahoney
- 215. Caseworker: Yams And Plantain , Donal Mahoney
- 216. Time To Remember V , Morgan Michaels
- 217. Travel Haiku - Millennium Park (Chicago) , john tiong chunghoo
- 218. Apocalypse , gershon hepner
- 219. Harvesting Pumpkins , Donal Mahoney
- 220. Christmas Eve At Rosen's Deli , Donal Mahoney
- 221. Travel Haiku - Chicago, My Other Paris , john tiong chunghoo
- 222. Sweat Corn.....The Other Girls...Around... , Atef Ayadi
- 223. More Loveable Limericks , Herbert Nehrlich
- 224. Time To Remember Ii , Morgan Michaels
- 225. Looking Out For Mrs. Ruff , Donal Mahoney
- 226. Oh, Rahm, Oh, Rahm Emmanuel , John F. McCullagh
- 227. The Gravedigger's Son , Donal Mahoney
- 228. We Were Irish, Don'Tcha Know , Donal Mahoney
- 229. Letter To Annie Far Away , Donal Mahoney
- 230. Scene From Yom Kippur 1972 , Donal Mahoney
- 231. Harry Tompkins And The Art Of Forgiveness , Donal Mahoney
- 232. It's Best To Leave Cootie Alone , Donal Mahoney
- 233. School Days , Donal Mahoney
- 234. ##36 (Vivekananda) The Visits On The Way , Rajaram Ramachandran
- 235. Purple Opulence , RIC S. BASTASA
- 236. Caregiver Leaving Again , RIC S. BASTASA
- 237. Moral Instransigence , gershon hepner
- 238. Inside The Red Hole , Edward Kofi Louis
- 239. 8pm, Sandymount Beach , douglas scotney
- 240. Jennifer , Joseph Narusiewicz
- 241. Before I Sally Off , Donal Mahoney
- 242. Bending, Grabbing, Sorting , Donal Mahoney
- 243. Lemon Underwear , Donal Mahoney
- 244. Midnight Anthem , Donal Mahoney
- 245. American Style , Joseph Narusiewicz
- 246. Always Family , RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- 247. One Of Those Yanks , Donal Mahoney
- 248. The Copyreader , Donal Mahoney
- 249. The Corner Of Wells And Madison , Donal Mahoney
- 250. People Who Live Above Stores , Donal Mahoney
New Chicago Poems
- Country Boy And City Bumpkin, Donal Mahoney
- One Night In Chicago, Curtisj Johnson
- Flight 1122, Curtisj Johnson
- A Prose-Poetry: Complimenting Each Other.., Tushar Ray
- Someone From Home, Donal Mahoney
- Evening Song, Sherwood Anderson
- My Kind Of Town, Ima Ryma
- Behind The Barn With Carol Ann, Donal Mahoney
- Precious Lord, John Taggart
- The Lovesong Of Emmett Till (1996), Anthony Walton
- carpe diem