Tonight we celebrated the end of my son’s first year of varsity soccer. In honor of that achievement, allow me to share with you a sonnet I wrote three years ago when I spoke at the girls soccer banquet where I teach.
Believe it or not, soccer is like a sonnet. Both require hard work. There are set guidelines: can you make something magical happen within the confines of the framework? You must have skilled feet: two in soccer and five metrical feet driving most sonnets. There’s the volta, or turn: can you turn a tough first half, a tough game, or a tough season around like the sonnet turns either after the eighth or twelfth line?
Soccer, like poetry, is an art. There’s imagery in both (the saves, the shots), and the rhythm and rhyme remind me of passes coming together and controlled runs on the pitch into open space. Ultimately, soccer, like poetry, is best when all the elements work together. Although individual lines and images may stand out and be remembered, even repeatedly quoted, they wouldn’t be if not for the poem as a whole. The lines and rhymes, images and similes, must all work together just like the eleven athletes on the pitch along with any subs on the bench. So here’s to the art and poetry of soccer (or fútbol)!
On Soccer – A Sonnet
By Vincent H. Anastasi 2019
Upon the pitch where titans waken dread And forwards crash upon the net in waves, Where well-placed corners find the well-timed head Or keepers perform miracles in saves, Defenders catch opponents on the fly And early balls exploit the given space, Where punts and crosses fill the autumn sky And tackles teach the sacred art of grace, You’ve strut your hour bold upon this stage Where scoreboards fail to capture heart and soul, Where more remains than headlines on a page, The bitter loss or hard-earned winning goal: Here you provide the rhythmic flowing feet And play the muse that calls forth this conceit.
NOTE: A conceit is a fanciful metaphor, especially a highly elaborate or extended metaphor in which an unlikely, far-fetched, or strained comparison is made between two things. (Follow the hyperlink above for more information)