Ballad of a Ballgame - Christine Lavin

    Remember that song by Janis Ian
    not getting chosen for the basketball team?
    I would have written that line
    if she hadn't done it first
    'cause when you' re 5'2"
    OK, 5'1" and a half
    and everybody else in the whole gym class
    is 5'3 and even taller
    it hurts

    Truth is, I hadn't thought about that for years
    'til a recent phone call rekindled all my fears
    "a softball game," Robin said, "and you're invited"
    "Softball, great! That's my game!
    Why 'Softball' is practically my middle name
    I'll be right over," I said, sounding excited

    Even though I can't throw, I can't hit
    I can't run, I admit
    I can't catch, I can't pitch
    in softball I haven't found my niche
    but I don't let details get in my way
    team sports, that's what I love to play
    I got dressed, got my sneakers tied
    made it to the park in time for choosing sides

    Pick me, pick me, pick me, pick me, pick me
    Glove? Well yes, I own one, but it's in the
    repair shop...I can always borrow from the other team...
    pick me, pick me, pick me, pick me, pick me...
    This part goes on for quite a while because
    20 people showed up to play, and as 10-person sides
    were being chosen I looked down at the ground,
    stared up at the sky, noticed that clouds were
    rolling in, acted like it didn't bother me a bit that

    Deja vu, I was the last one chosen
    after the other team picked Jay Rosen
    they put me in the field so far out and to the right
    I was practically out of sight
    still everybody said I was having a good day
    I didn't make any errors
    I didn't make any plays
    You see, the ball never actually came out my way
    and I figured the afternoon is going to end this way

    Getting up to bat was even worse than this
    I hit a little dribbler out to the mound,
    the pitcher threw me out at first base
    then the captain of the other team said,
    "Hey, it's OK, she really doesn't know how to play so we won't count her outs"
    and I said "Wait a minute, I want you to count my outs I want my outs to count !"
    which made me instantly unpopular with my whole team
    so I said, "You don't have to count my outs!
    I was only kidding!"
    but I wasn't

    So I resumed my place in the field
    watched the dandelions grow, blossom,
    turn into puffs and blow away in the chilly wind,
    watched the clouds make ugly formations
    I questioned my worth as a human being
    and my reason for living

    When top of the seventh, two on, two out
    a crack of that bat, a mighty clout
    my whole team turned and cringed to see
    that speeding ball heading toward me
    I ran as fast as I could, I said a prayer
    stuck out my glove.. .the ball landed in there!
    no one could believe it on either team
    they hooted and hollered, stomped and screamed
    and even total strangers watching clapped and cheered
    aware that God had just performed a miracle here
    I was carried to the bench, handed a beer
    then the clouds broke apart and the sun reappeared.

    (I'm exaggerating on that point.
    The sun didn't come out, but it felt like it did
    in my heart. I wanted to live again.)

    By the way, we lost that game 17-3
    but I considered it a moral victory
    so Janis Ian, wherever you might be
    take heart, there's hope for you
    'cause there's hope for me

    © 1985 Christine Lavin


    Marco Giunco
    Work Basket Music Words