Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pre-Olympic Update: Ogden Nash Loved Sports


Nash professes in the following poem that he was a born spectator. However, he was also someone who loved to play. Ogden Nash was known to relish playing football and ice hockey while in school.

I recently discovered this athletic verse, thanks to Amitabh of Pune, India. Having memorized Casey at the Bat when I was in 6th grade, I was delighted to encounter another poem about sports. (The archive of sports poems is as thick as our president's library.) This is also an example of a Nash subject matter, so germane to most people, yet largely ignored by other poets.

CONFESSIONS OF A BORN SPECTATOR

One infant grows up and becomes a jockey
Another plays basketball or hockey

This one the prize ring hates to enter
That one becomes a tackle or center...

(Read the whole poem here)

...When swollen eye meets gnarled first
When snaps the knee, and cracks the wrist

When officialdom demands
Is there a doctor in the stands?

My soul in true thanksgiving speaks
For this modest of physiques

"Athletes, I'll drink to you,
Or eat with you
Or anything except compete with you

Buy tickets worth their radium
To watch you gamble in the stadium

And reassure myself anew
That you are not me and I'm not you

And thanks to the Sidney, Montana Sidney Herald for reminding us of Nash's:

LINE-UP FOR YESTERDAY - AN ABC OF BASEBALL IMMORTALS

A is for Alex

The great Alexander;

More goose eggs he pitched

Than a popular gander.


B is for Bresnahan

Back of the plate;

The Cubs were his love,

And McGraw was his hate.

C is for Cobb,

Who grew spikes and not corn,

And made all the basemen

Wish they weren’t born.

D is for Dean.

The grammatical Diz.

When they asked, Who’s the Tops?

Said correctly, I is.


E is for Evers,

His jaw in advance;

Never afraid

To Tinker with Chance.

F is for Fordham

And Frankie and Frisch;

I wish he were back

With the Giants, I wish.

G is for Gehrig,

The Pride of the Stadium;

His record pure gold,

His courage, pure radium.

H is for Hornsby;

When pitching to Rog,

The pitcher would pitch,

Then the pitcher would dodge....Read the rest here
 
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