Teaching the NBA Prospect

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In a town like this they show the games
on movie theater screens, where I watch
a 20-foot tall version of the already tall
small forward from my 12:00 class
sink a three to tie it. I cheer, spill
my popcorn, forget that he has not yet
turned in his second essay

but he’s projected to go first round
in this year’s NBA draft, meaning
he’s staring down $2,288,200 and I’m
asking him to care about a Literacy narrative.
Who can blame him about the essay, with this
high-stakes conference game slipping away
with 2:20 left and no fouls to give?

And who can blame him if he doesn’t
show up tomorrow? His classmates
and his teacher and most of the citizens
of the town where he lives now watch
as our Legendary Head Coach smacks
his ass and shouts a resounding WHAT
THE FUCK WAS THAT

after a stupid foul. They lose. We walk home.
The theater empties quietly. We can hear
the traffic lights change. Not only do these
dejected townies know my student’s name,
they curse it under their breath. My wife
asks if I’m okay while I try to not be
the guy-who-withdrawals-because-of-sports.

At least when Lebron James makes me
a bad husband, I don’t have to
teach him about thesis statements.

 

 

Photo: LeBron James by Keith Allison

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About Author

Danny Caine's poems have appeared in Midwestern Gothic, Hobart, New Ohio Review, and other places. He's a regular book reviewer for The Los Angeles Review and he's co-editor of Beecher's Magazine. Hailing from Cleveland, he now lives in Lawrence, Kansas where he works at the Raven Bookstore. More information at dannycaine.com.

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