The Empty Net

What I saw on the flushed
and sweaty face of my son
as he waited for the throw-in
 

was the giving up of himself
to the play of the play and
the boundaries of the field
 
and the exact position of
his friends so complete and
generous and brave that it
 
was sadness bursting out of
me like cheering, it was grief.
For sacrifice like this no
 
honor is commensurate, no
moment sufficient. The shadows
would have deepened even if
 
he’d won the game, the mothers
and the fathers folding up the
lawn chairs and hurrying home.
 
Sleep would have come in any
event and with it the darkness
and the dreams, the ball shooting
 
back into the ropes again and
again, falling and falling into
the empty net. Oh my beautiful
 
son, I never would have given
you up so freely, I never would
have given you up at all.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement
Advertisement

The latest from america

Father Michael Nixon and parishioner work a volunteer table at St. Dominic Catholic Church in Panama City, Fla. Photo by Atena Sherry.
Much like New Orleans’ Ninth Ward after Hurricane Katrina, the low-income neighborhoods east of Panama City, where St. Dominic is located, were especially hard-hit by the storm. Now residents here are desperate for help.
Atena SherryOctober 18, 2018
“I believe there are adequate, alternative options for true women’s health care out there, and Planned Parenthood is not needed,” said Alisha Fox, a health and wellness coach at a Catholic fertility center in Chicago.
Colleen ZeweOctober 18, 2018
 Ethiopian Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel of Addis Ababa checks out the name badge of Nathanael Lamataki, a youth delegate from the French territory of New Caledonia in the South Pacific, as they leave a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 5. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
Cardinal Souraphiel highlighted the role globalization plays in connecting young people in unjust ways.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 18, 2018
The pope said he would visit North Korea “if an official invitation arrives.”
Gerard O’ConnellOctober 18, 2018