by Lawrence J. J. Leonard
So much pressure to be Number One
A lifetime must be invested in the craft.
It’s the game,
the time coordination,
and that expensive diet regimen.
Need to rest and recover?
Don’t mention it
because this takes time, too.
Want to win?
Of course, why else
spend all that money on
special equipment and entry fees
just to be happy to show up?
I took piano lessons.
You didn’t have a choice,
you and your violin.
Those over there are all band geeks.
They have their own competitions,
their own medal ceremonies,
many others their own cliques.
We have to compete on a higher level,
the kind that is almost never applauded.
We use drive and desire
and our wills to take on the pain of practice.
Happy just to be in a winner’s presence? Please.
No one has proof that they can handle our arena.
Our daily lives prove this.
Hyper-dedicated jocks gloat,
“You came in second place.
We are Number One.”
Yes, all that hormonal glory is theirs.
Was it a true sacrifice?
It was a parent’s investment of money
and ego stroking, and equipment,
and all that precious time that was sacrificed.
Number One stands tall upon the support of others
as we come in second place
on that Competition Day.
And the other 364 days?
We work hard
on and off the playing field,
at home with the kids,
taking care of our old parents,
at work keeping up the pace to perform with our brains.
With little sleep to recover,
with no one to sit next to us at lunch,
without a prayer in church
to bless our battered bodies.
Our strength is demanded every single day.
This is our Gold Standard.
Copyright © 1960-2016 Lawrence J. J. Leonard All rights reserved