Major, even minor league dreams long gone,
these weathered men in their 30s,
already beer-bellied and balding,
gathered at the local ball field Sunday
for their grudge match against the younger men
from FoundryWorks, next town over.
The older men tried to will their minds
to the speed and memories of their youth.
Discarding minor injuries,
the home team threw themselves
into the passions of the game,
bragging rights more important than
the $50 side wager per man.
The ensuing 8-0 rout depressed them more than
the money pocketed by the away team.
The locals trudged home with a new set of aches.
They didn’t tell their wives about the money,
but the women knew anyway, said nothing,
realizing it would do no good
to deprive their husbands of their pride,
a small price to pay for evening peace.