As you sit on the stone bench
Looking across the playground
Waiting for the school bell to ring
To fetch your son home
Your feet itch to run a lap
Try to catch your runaway youth by the neck
Hold him for a while before he gives you the slip.
When I bring him back for the cricket coaching class
My son's classmates, no bigger than the bat ask
"Uncle, were you a player once?"
"Did you play for your school, college?"
As they watch me play shots in the air.
"More than learning the game, or excelling in it
Or getting into the team or winning
Enjoy the feel of the ground under your feet
The sun on your face, the sheer joy of running,
The surge of blood as you hit a ball
Take a catch or a wicket
The sweating, the sweet ache of your body after.
You must love it so, you want to hit the ground again
If this happens, other things don't matter.
Someday you can sit on a stone bench as this
And look at a playground with love."
They didn't seem to understand
But the way they ran into the ground
Showed they already knew.