After 25 years covering prep games,
romanticizing the slap of leather,
the crack of the bat, the smell of the grass,
working ungodly hours until the sky was pitch
and only a few burger joints were still left open,

the sportswriter,
with shelves full of gilded awards
and a phalanx of loyal readers,
suffered the final indignity.
After years without pay raises
or any token of appreciation,

they brought in a new editor
a few years out of college
without ever giving him so much
as a lousy interview
or an inquiry if he’d be interested,
just a gesture of basic courtesy.

So the sportswriter
hung out his shingle
for a rival paper
eager to hire him away,
hoping to capitalize
off that kind of trust
you earn with readers
after a few dedicated decades

up in the press box
with a Styrofoam carrier
for enough watery McDonald’s coffee
to power through another long night
under the lights, on the laptop.