Tuesday, September 4, 2018

THE GAME














With ball in hand my time to shine 
I drove it down the court
A spin, a twirl, that move of mine 
Just thrilled to play the sport.
I dribbled past their shooting guard
And moved into the key
The way in front was now unbarred,
T'was just the hoop and me.

I laid up for the perfect shot
To move our team ahead
But suddenly there formed a knot
Of building fear and dread
And crept into my heart this doubt
My skills to score were doomed
That's when my mind heard loud this shout
"No way José!" It boomed.

For one brief flash I looked up in
The bleachers way up top
To find my fan, was sure t'was him
The one I still called Pop.
And sure enough I saw him there
Cheering me to shoot!
I filled with hope; gone was despair
My focus now acute.

I turned back to the hoop to find
Their team was rushing in
I drove in hard with shot in mind,
Adding a final spin.
I jumped with all my strength and worth
With ball raised up, aroar.
Then...SMACK!...a hand. Back to the Earth
I fell confused and sore.

The buzzer buzzed...we lost the game!
My insides began to twist
A panic set that I'm to blame
For the shot I missed.
When I thought all hope was gone
Just like the game we faced
A mighty hand I felt upon
My drooping shoulder placed

I turned my watered eyes to see
The loving arm of Dad
I stumbled out the word,--- "Sorry"
Just thinking he was mad.
He lowered from his giant height
And knelt to wipe my tear.
Embraced me with his humble might,
And whispered in my ear.

"The game is never over, Sport.
You've simply lost this win
For ever are you on the Court
Of this life you're in.
Keep shooting for that hoop you yearn.
I promise you this claim:
You'll win the prize that you earn
By staying in the game."

Today we buried my uncle Jerry Conley. As a kid, we would travel every summer to visit our family in Utah. I remember traveling out to Roosevelt to visit the Conley's one winter and sledding down a big steep hill. I am pretty sure I was not gutsy enough to go down it. I knew that I would surely die! But that didn't stop the Conley's! They were way too cool to be afraid of a few broken bones and a mouthful of busted teeth and snow. I always thought the Conley's were cool for three things:
One, they owned a fully metal transformable Optimus Prime
Two, they were always great at sports, and
Three, their dad was Jerry, a funny guy with witty humor, and one of my mom's heroes.

This poem is to remember Jerry. His love of sports and seeing their deeper meaning. His love of family, and never missing their games. His love of his Savior and the lessons he learned from the gospel and the doctrines of enduring to the end. Thank you, Jerry for being a part of my life!

And for the Conley's, whom I love, when life smacks you down with doubts and grief or sorrows you think are impassable hear the words, "No way José...just stay in the game". I know the emptiness never leaves you, but it does become more bearable. That emptiness helps us to remember and never forget. Keep playing your beautiful game!

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