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Will my great-grandkids play football?
Will there be water for real grass?
Will we keep enough of their trust
that they’ll have to adjust to conditions,
and make weather-related decisions,
or will it simply be too hot to play,
and does it matter? After all, in our fathers’ day,
the ball, we’re told, became as heavy as a boulder
and the Game would revert to some mob-fest
where it would hurt to even kick, let alone head.
We have progressed, haven’t we?
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Will the U-10’s in 2063 be made
to come off after they’ve played
a few minutes, and their monitor beeps,
while some sideline supercomputer keeps
telling our granddaughter soccer mothers
that it’s time for others to go in,
regardless of the score, with the coach knowing
she’ll be brought up before the Society
if she engages in the impropriety of trying to win?
Will that, then, be a sin? And does it matter?
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Will it be our apology
for the poor air quality
that we move the Game inside,
in some attempt to hide
how we’ve failed in the veneration
of the stage that we borrow from the next generation,
and will our page claim that we were ignorant
of the torrent of data that told us that
we needed to do something to
keep this ancient venue
in existence, despite the resistance
of a powerful few? As if that were something new?
And does it matter?
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As scary as it might seem, we are the canaries.
The coal mines, all theatres of dreams;
every open air grass pitch on the planet. Can it be
proof that it is not too late
that there is yet no roof? If we hesitate
they may find themselves some Saturday
in the place I sat today
with fanfare, pretending to care
by celebrating the retirement of the environment,
giving up its number to the “O”-zone
of the new stadium because we stayed too dumb.
Does it matter?
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You see, I’ve never thought of myself
as an environmentalist,
or a sentimentalist, or even an incrementalist.
I’m just a pragmatic asthmatic
who wants to breathe,
and watch football
the way it was meant to be played
and for my great-grandkids
to know that what I did
had them in mind,
that’s the kind of person
I want them to be
As for Mr. Gibbons,
I say make him a Knight,
because he had the foresight
to get it right,
because football does matter.