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For My Hockey Star

I can’t imagine how it feels to stand
on the side and coach
the team you once played on
knowing that never again will you be the one
checking the opponents’ leading scorer
or sliding the puck past a sprawled leg into the net
but standing, clapping, cheering instead
handing out the congratulations to your former teammates
like popsicles at kindergarten snack time
You’ve traded your skates for titles, and you are now
the Official Back Patter, Executive Advice Giver,
Captain of the Standing Behind the Bench Squad
How does it feel to line up and shake hands after a loss
and think “I should have taught them better”?
And then they’re gone and you’re alone again
standing standing standing
your mind filled with could’ves and should’ves and didn’ts,
till you kiss the ice and shout into its cold, unforgiving surface
I did the best I could!

8 August 2000