Poetic Perseverance

About A Boy

He showed up one day before practice,
a kid wearing t-shirt and jeans.
One look would have told you he wasn't
at all like the kids on the team.

He wasn't as tall as the others;
the toes of his feet pointed in;
and his knees and his elbows were awkward;
his arms and legs were too thin.

But he said to me, "coach it's no secret
that I'm small and a kinda thin guy,
but just give me a chance, and I promise
that I will do nothing but try."

It was maybe the way that he said it
or the look that was fixed in his eye,
but somehow I knew I believed him,
and I said, "O.K. kid, you can try,"

"But I'll tell you it won't be so easy,
and I'm not gonna give you a break;
you'll work just as hard as the others,
and you'll earn the position you make."

Well, the kid started in with a smile,
though he knew he was in for some pain,
for he traveled a road that was rocky;
he fought for each inch that he gained.

The other kids often would tease him-
call him names and play tricks on him, too.
They'd trip him and tackle him harder
than anyone needed to do.

But the kid would just smile as he lay there,
then pick himself up with a grin
and brush off the pain and get ready
to go back and try it again.

He tried twice as hard as the others,
and when practice was over I found.
He would work and he'd labor for hours
all alone with no others around.

Then the jokes and the name calling ended
as I guessed that someday it must,
and they treated the kid as an equal,
for they knew he was someone to trust.

That kid made the team cause he earned it-
the smallest of all of the bunch,
but he played with a courage that made him
far greater than the rest of the hunch.

Now, often when my life is troubled,
and problems mount up to the sky,
I think of the kid who came to me
with only the promise to try.

And I think how in trying, he made it,
in spite of the strife and the pain;
in spite of the odds stacked against him;
when everyone thought it in vain.

And it gives me the spirit I've needed
to allow me to cope and get by,
when I think of the kid who succeeded,
'cause he had the courage to try.

—Author Unknown

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