Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Long-Time Resident's Poem About Playing On Neighborhood "51st Street Fireballs Football Team"

Long-time Laurelhurst resident, Margo Wyckoff, sent this published poem about her experiences as a girl playing tackled football with the neighborhood boys, which she said "draws on quite a bit of our neighborhood memory and won a slam in Seattle some years ago,"

The poem is about her days as a running back on the 51st Street Fireballs Football Team.  The tackle team consisted of boys  from her husband, Tom's, end of Laurelhurst near the Beach Club up to NE 45th Street. 

Margo told the Laurelhurst Blog Staff that the team practiced at Laurelhurst Park and played other neighborhood teams during Elementary School. 

She said "a sweet victory was beating the Webster Point Wolves who were a formidable lot." 

The Wyckoffs have also shared their memories of past restaurants, from their many years of living, shopping and eating in the neighborhood.

The World Series

Strange things are happening
I have discovered a whisker growing
out of the left side of my chin, and I have
at age sixty, become a baseball fan.
Are these two realities connected hormonally
converged harmonically, or constructed heuristically?
I ponder which came first - the fan-ship or the follicle.
I wonder if my life might have been different
if I had been encouraged toward baseball
in my early years.
Would I have caught the crosstown bus
to Sicks Seattle Stadium along with sweaty boys
who clutched stiff mitts in the hope of stretching
their arms ten feet tall and snagging a ball in the webbed
pocket of their leather pubescence.
Might I have performed my Saturday tasks quickly
so as to make ready for Leo Lassen, sportscaster
whose sonorous voice could be heard issuing forth
from multiple backyard radios, consoling the Dads
who could not go to the ballpark and who sat sullenly
in their tee-shirts, tinkering with lawn mowers and yelling
at the sandboxes to pipe down for pete’s sake, the game is on.
The ugly truth is that I was deliberately diverted from spitballs
and sliders by my mother who grew afraid while watching me
throw my body against the wind and run until my toes did not
touch the ground, and my skin gave off a sharp metallic scent.
I was given a bathing suit for my ninth birthday
instead of the father’s mitt I longed for which was strange
when you consider that January offered even less opportunity
for swimming than perfecting one’s brilliant throw to third
seconds after snagging the fouled tip from near the umpire’s ear.
Had she understood I could have had time to oil that glove,
tie a hardball inside, and let my dreams of glory cure slowly
until spring training.
I was propelled at that age to aggressive rather than assertive acts
and so I turned somewhat in spite to football and threw my stringy self
into playing tight end for the Fifty First Street Fireballs, who smug
and certain after two weeks of practice, crushed the team of snotty kids
(all things being relative) from Webster Point, and then went home
for dinner knowing that no more could ever be done that would be so good.
“Are you their secret weapon” a boy on the defensive line had snarled at me.
I did not answer, but for years I have thought of myself as a secret weapon;
marauding my way into doctoral study, sacrosanct hospital staff lounges
and men’s bathrooms, when none were provided in places I was speciously
invited in order to preview the stuff that it really took to play in the majors.
I once grew so weary of urinating in a heightened state of privacy anxiety
that I sprayed perfume from my purse sized atomizer on the rough roll
of toilet paper that hung in the male only stall.
Beware I spritzed. Woman has been here.
Now I am retired from these activities. The bastions have been stormed
although not yet secured.
I have mothballed my power suits and walk around the house barefooted
and barelegged as I listen to the Series; faint traces of silver scars begotten
on the playing fields of Laurelhurst Park still etched upon my knees.
My mother is long gone and our daughter is away at graduate school
where her withering comments regarding outrageous salaries paid to dumb
male jocks cannot shame me into turning on Ella Fitzgerald instead of watching
grown men in identical outfits scratch their crotches more times per hour
then they spit, although this is often a toss-up.
As I yell Visquel on to third, I think about the fact that plump women like myself
are thought to be securely libidinous due to the presence of small squirts
testosterone secreted in their tissues.
Perhaps this mid-life bonus is one reason I have grown a whisker and grown fond
of baseball.
Perhaps this is also why I have slipped my tongue around some new and grand
curse words during this time of full moons, during this time when nerines autumnal gardens to flaunt their nipple-pink blooms and conjure up the memory of maiden springs.

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