Girls’ Basketball á la Camus

The gym is only half an arena.

Bleachers are pulled out on one side but not the other.

Maybe the opposing team, because they are in opposition,

Couldn’t send supporters. So they don’t need bleachers.

Or maybe because God is their support,

All they need, and he doesn’t need bleachers.


Our girls run out onto the floor,

Black and brown and short and tall,

A couple white; a couple fat.

There are cheers and some clapping hands. Our supporters.

What an unlikely looking team! How can they be contenders?

How can these voluptuous, brash children win?

They see me here and smile.

They are not the stuff of pros.


The other girls run out onto the floor.

They are not black or brown or yellow or red.

They are white and blond as straw.

They are tall and thin and only tall and thin.

They come from a small Christian school.

Are all the girls at their school white and blond as straw

And tall and thin? Are all the boys?

Maybe there are no boys at their school,

No Christian boys at their Christian school.


They play basketball, these girls, ours and theirs.

More home team fans show up, late.

They are mostly black and brown, but not all.

They do not all look alike.

They do not look at all like me.

They see me here and smile.


The girls play basketball.

We score; they score.

We score; they score.

We score; they score.


I cheer for our team. I know them and love them.

I call our players by their names.

They see me here and smile.

I don’t cheer for the other team. I don’t know them.

I don’t know their names.

I can’t tell which ones have scored.

They all look alike to me.

I don’t know the name of their school.

They don’t see me and they don’t smile.


August 2011

About Jay C Ritterson
The only failure is the failure to try.

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