The Artful Dodger

A toast to Vin Scully’s amazing run

There’s a movie about Sully,
but a sportscaster named Scully
has me pondering my childhood
and the Dodgers games he’s called.

His descriptions were a work of art.
Vin Scully (from the very start)
could paint with words and bring to life
what happened on the field.

Mr. Baseball has been in the booth
before I boasted my first tooth.
I grew up listening to him
and grew to love his voice.

But Vinnie’s voice will soon be stilled
and knowing that gives me a chill.
It’s hard to watch the greats move on
because it’s time to go.

So here’s to you, my childhood friend.
Your legacy will never end.
You taught us how to love the game
describing what you saw.

* Vincent Edward “Vin” Scully will turn eighty-nine on November 29th. He has been broadcasting Dodgers games since 1950. This weekend he concludes his celebrated career. When I saw my very first major league baseball game in the early 1960s in Candlestick Park, the San Francisco Giants were hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers. Vin Scully was in the broadcast booth calling the play-by-play for the Dodgers. Ironically, this weekend Scully is in San Francisco for his very last broadcast as his Dodgers play the Giants.

The Pennant Race in Autumn

Why this time of year awakens my inner child

Each fall I’m like a little boy,
a baseball fan who dreams
that somehow my beloved team will win.
And though my heart’s been ripped apart
and grieved what’s slipped away,
I find a way to fuel my hope again.

I listen to sports radio
and watch games on TV
while studying the standings every day.
I live with every single win
and die with every loss.
No wonder my thin hair is turning gray.

I think back to those nights in bed
I cried myself to sleep
with my transistor pressed against my ear.
That’s when I learned that baseball’s more
than ending in first place.
It’s learning to be patient till next year.

And yet I love the start of fall
with playoffs in the air.
The chance my team might make it spurs me on.
The slightest hope ignites my faith
that one day they’ll have cause
to play more games when other teams are done.

Diversity University

It’s where we learn to accept others

Diversity University
is a process not a place.
It’s the school that we attend our whole life long.
It’s the classroom where we must unlearn
the lies that we were taught
when as children we accepted what was wrong.

Diversity University
helps us read another’s eyes
and then study what is written on their face.
It’s where we confront our bias
and do homework on our own
as we reflect on God’s amazing grace.

Diversity University
is the means by which we grow
to become the person God meant us to be.
It’s where we accept our classmates
as deserving to be loved
while we celebrate the right to disagree.

Diversity University
is challenging for sure.
It’s the hardest college anyone attends.
To make the grade you swallow pride
and sip humility.
It’s a learning process that just never ends.

* This poem was written for the Diversity Awareness Partners at Covenant Shores Retirement Community on Mercer Island, Washington.

Reflections on September 11th

Looking back and looking forward

Fifteen years ago we panicked
fearing all that lay in store
as in shock we tried to ponder
terror’s unexpected horror.

Evil claimed a bloody vic’try.
Fear moved in and claimed a room.
Helplessly, we called on Jesus
jailed within a cell of doom.

Empty churches filled with pray-ers
who acknowledged their deep need
asking God for retribution
and for justice to succeed.

What seemed like old-time revival
was short lived and long on pride.
When a nation finds its footing,
faith grows faint as fear subsides.

In our apathy, confront us.
Bring us to our knees again.
Help us see our need for Jesus.
Give us grace to trust in Him.

God, protect us from mad snipers
who gun down the unaware.
Give us courage to see clearly
and disarm the threat of terror.

Ryan’s Not-So-Great Adventure in Rio

Lessons Lochte leaves us

Yes, Ryan Lochte lied and lost.
He trashed a loo and learned the cost
of drinking to the point of drunk
and acting like a fool.

So needlessly he paid the price
for dodging what he knew was nice.
He dove into disaster’s wake
and wasted what he’d won.

And here’s the lesson from his fate.
To drink til drunk’s a big mistake.
You lose endorsements right and left,
your reputation, too.

I hope that Michael Phelps can save
his teammate who has misbehaved.
He knows firsthand the curse of booze
and how it steals your joy.