Mama, Why You Put Your Cleats On?

Mama,
Why you put your cleats on?

'Gotta keep in the run, son.
This turf is getting harder than concrete.
Gotta keep a strong pace going...
Ahead of those asleep on the streets.
I'm gonna make sure we eat.
And have a place safe enough to sleep.
That's why your mama tieing up her shoes,
With the cleats!

But mama...
Why you putting that mask on your face?

'Chile...
I gotta do what mamas do,
With a constant smile,
That protects my grace.
If I did not wear a mask...
Those in my way may detect a frown.
I've worn that for too long,
For them to trace now,
My child! '

But mama...?
Explain the shoulder pads.
I don't understand that at all.

'I'm going into those heated fields...
With those accustomed to playing hardball.
They are accustomed to leave others,
In pain, sorrow and abuse.
Mama ain't gonna put up with that.
Or use that to do nothing...
To sit home with you,
Teaching it's okay to be afraid with excuses.

And I'm certainly not the one,
Who is going to be left wounded and bruised.
Mama's gonna be the one,
Right up in the meanest face.
To leave them boo hooing too!
Now give me that bat! '

But mama...
Ain't you dressed for football?

'Chile...
When you get older,
And hopefully you will.
You're gonna learn how to dress,
For any game to be played.
Now...
Hand me that helmet.
And get out of mama's way! '

Yes, ma'am!

by Lawrence S. Pertillar

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