Poems and Poetry

The Scout | A Poem by Roy Pullam

He came
To all the games
Sitting high
In the stands
Hoping to not gather attention
Watching carefully
The kid’s moves
Without the ball
The grace
Of the seventeen year old boy
He followed
After practice
Deep into the inner city
Knowing the mother
Cleaned offices
In the gleaming towers
Downtown
No father
But four younger children
The apartment crowded
But empty
Of so many things
That mattered
The family’s only hope
The skills
That came
With the basketball
No other route
Lay beyond the drugs
Beyond the violence
She saw everyday
On her way to work
The scout
Not the only one
Sniffing around
Since the headlines
Men whose Gucci shoes
Normally never
Walked the halls
Of the tenement
Came visiting
With promises
Of bright future
Opportunities for her
For the children
Far beyond
This gray life
But she had seen others
Hustled off
Used up
And dropped down
Where they began
The promise ashes
The good life gone
He was a student
Reading and learning
He, unique
Not like the rest
Whose only shot
Was the rattle
Of the rim
And she would
Take no less
Than the life change
That came
With an education
She asked tough questions
Questions that eliminated
Sports factories
Questions that
Would involve
More personal hardship
But assure the future
Of her eldest child
Her sacrifice
So few
Were willing to make
She heard their offer
Then sent so many
On their way
Scouts find talent
Make promises
Get a paper signed
Then move on
To the next prospect
She wanted more
Poor but proud
A good mother
In the whirlwind
Of big time sports

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