I was a teacher for 58 years.
The stats live with me every day —
Ditto machine to iPad
Black board to green to white
Suits and ties to comfort … and
Always the children, the fans.
I won awards and worked with kids
On newspapers, yearbooks, magazines,
Made movies, put on shows,
Coached basketball on two continents,
Met my future wife sharing a classroom:
All of it has sped by like a runner
Hitting an inside-the-park homer.
It built up like the Dodger comeback in ’51.
All those lessons, discussions, tests,
All those grades in my role as umpire.
There’s no Hall of Fame induction for me
But if I would have to make a speech
Accepting the honor of a lifetime,
I’d thank a baseball great for my career.
It’s this simple: I’d never have passed
My teaching exam if I hadn’t read
A biography of Koufax in 1966
And written about it on that night
As I sat in a Brooklyn classroom and
Came through in the clutch
And finally made the Major Leagues
By hitting a homer with Koufax,
Not against him (of course).
I finally circled the bases a year ago
And I can rest and smile
And replay highlights of all those games
Any time I want.