The Second Ball - Poem by Jerry Buckley
In soccer, at the taking of a 'goal kick' - whereby the ball is put back into play, by the attacking team from its own defensive end - there are two major mantras which are bandied about the field of play. The old school version is all about 'first to', or being the first player to contest the ball in the air; all about going out and winning the first battle, and not allowing your opponent an easy 'touch' on the ball.
The contemporary, and more enlightened refrain is all about 'winning the second ball' in recognition of the reality that the ball normally ricochets randomly from one of the two opponents trying to be 'first to' gain the header, and that the player in the best position for the rebound will most likely control the ball.
Then again there is the 'second bite of the cherry' maximum, which is all about following up a team-mate's shot on goal, to take advantage of any bobbles or rebounds off the goalkeeper. Many a winning goal is scored in this very manner.
In baseball, it's usually that second time through the batting order before many runs are scored. That's when the pitcher is more likely to get into trouble; after the batters have had a look at his stuff and the base runners have timed his rhythm in coming to the plate. After his elbow has begun to complain, and the sun has set, no longer glaring in the eyes of the batters, who now have a better look at his release point.
In cooking, it is well recognized that certain dishes, like lasagna and spaghetti, or especially cheesecake, often taste better as left-overs; after the culinary magic has had time to settle in. Only after the dish is placed center stage on a clean plate all by itself, and encountered apart from all the noises and excesses of a large meal, do the flavors sing out loud.
In courtships, it is more often than not, that second date when things begin to get interesting: after all the awkward first encounter yada-yada has been survived, and both parties are a little more at ease, and have a better idea of what is to be expected from each other and from themselves; a much more fertile ground for growth and development.
Second honey-moons often are more fun that the originals. It can take some couples a few years to learn how to travel effectively as a team; and to have seasoned a bit and earned the right to vacate to exotic places, without wondering whatever it is that fickle Fortuna has in store for the two of them back home.
And where would many of us be without 'second chances'? What would our lives look like today, had not some special someone been patient with one of our lesser selves? Many marriages only begin to take mature shape after some one or the other has foolishly ventured to see how much there really was to loose. There's even that cliche concept of 'Renewing our Vows' these days which allows us a sort of 'mulligan' on our misfired marriages.
Let your mind wander back to the first time you attempted to roller skate, to drive a stick shift; the first time your made brownies, or made love in an actual bed. Think of your first wobbly times on a bicycle, your first mangled chords from a piano or guitar; first casts from a fishing reel, the first tosses of a softball, the first time you tried to tie your dad's necktie or to apply your mom's make-up. How many? Really; of the things that make our waking hours worth-while, do most of us ever get right the first time out?
Point is: If things don't work out like you had once choreographed for your life, don't give up, at least not just yet. Try whatever it is you are doing at least once more. and if that doesn't work, then try a second approach, the second time, if needs.
Be ever vigilant for that second bite of the cherry; and concentrate upon winning the second ball. Even if you aren't always successful, your life will be that much richer from the effort, and from the experience.
'Voice of One' @ Jerry Buckley
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