I used to play a game I’d call baseball’s
Distant second cousin, slow-pitch softball.
The similarities are there — same positions
(If you don’t weaken and play the fourth outfielder).
There was a ball, some gloves, maybe hue-and-pattern-filled
Uniforms, the chatter and the crowd (small as it was,
Oxymoronically) and scoring (lots of scoring). I
Played left field in my junior year at the City College of New York
As the intramural tournament took place.
Consider it the poor man’s (or lesser player’s)
Championship Series. It was a stereotypical sunny day,
That thrilling afternoon in 1963; my team was deeply
Populated by young faux-athletes who would one day
Go on to become hopefully successful chemical engineers —
And me, the English major . . . but we were more than academics
On this fateful day: We were the champions (I can hear
Freddy Mercury and Queen in the background now, but
They were born too late to serenade us at the apex of our personal performance
Playing careers) who vanquished each opponent with our attempts at
Poise and slick strong skills. I can remember that great game any way I wish,
Especially as I replay plays in my mind, and who is there to
Contradict me? We won it all. To me, all those years of watching
Yankee Crowns were merely background to my own reality:
We won the intra-murals, and just for that one day,
All New York was celebrating, throwing Times Square confetti
From tall buildings and music played and women hugged us.
It’s wonderful how memories are plastic, to be formed
The way we wish, the way we sometimes need.
I never reached again the glory of that game
But what a miracle!
That I can hit the replay button any time I want
And transmogrify incidents at will
And bask in the magic of that game.