Advice At The Park

As I was sitting on a bench in the park,
my focus became a nearby game of baseball.
A boy, much younger, smaller than the rest, struck out.
To jeers, he stormed away. His mood was angry, dark.

Running over, he plopped down in the shade nearby.
“You’ll get a hit next time.” I offered cheerfully.
“Won’t be no next time. I quit!” the boy answered
through teary eyes, poked out lip. “I’m never gonna try

to do anything with my older brother and his friends
ever again.” “I know exactly how you feel. They’re all
bigger, better than you. It was just the same for me
growing up. But, you know, how you handle this tends

to set a pattern for life. For the rest of your life there
will always be someone bigger, better, smarter, handsomer
than you. Let that intimidate you -- you’ll become a loser.
Consider it a challenge, try’ll get somewhere.

When I was about your age, all the older kids were taking
turns hurdling this hedge, only I was too small to do it.
So I dove over headfirst! I found a way to succeed. Never
quit. Always try your hardest. One day you’ll be making

plays as good...better even...than those older guys.”
The boy looked at me thoughtfully, then ran to rejoin
the game. “Was that a true story? You dove over headfirst?”
“Yep! When I landed, I broke my nose, blackened both eyes...”

Harry Edward Gilleland      06.17.02