Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Mister Wilson

Magazine article First Things; A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life

Mister Wilson

Article excerpt

One time a zillion years ago I played on a basketball team

On which eight players had ponytails and our burly center

Had a beard reminiscent of old Walt Whitman or Melville.

We looked like the chorus at a Hassidic hipster convention.

It was funny enough that we all had hair flying in the wind

When we went zooming off on fast breaks, and that Bobby,

Our deft center, looked like U.S. Grant banging the boards,

But the twist was that our coach, Mister Wilson, was Army

Through and through with a buzzcut like a newmown lawn.

He was pained, we could see, that he had to play the freaks,

And he detested the way we played, prone to turnovers and

Essentially wishing only to run like maniacs and try passes

That were not as yet technically possible on this wild earth,

And the poor man would carefully set up intricate play sets,

Sketching them neatly in red and green on his plastic board,

And we would all nod happily, hands on hips, dripping salt,

And then as soon as die whistle blew do whatever we liked

At the highest speed possible. And we did stuff deliberately

To drive him nuts, like call timeout to restore our hairbands

And each game make a ridiculous turnover just to see if we

Could make him make that strangled choking moariing sigh. …

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