Instead of a Winter Haiku, How About No October?
A few days ago, our great friend Pawlie Kokonuts excitedly sent me an email of a poem called *No October* written by a Giants fan that he had somehow come to know. I love Pawlie but he’s a level or 6 above me when it comes to meeting up with Giants fans who are strangers. I was busy, scanned part of it quickly, figured I’d get to it when I had more time. You’re not supposed to rush through a poem, right? Anyway, I lost the email somehow, probably deleted it, but either way it wasn’t anywhere to be found in my trash or my inbox. A day later I sheepishly asked him to send it again. He forwarded me a link at Amazon and being the supporter of great writing that I am, I clicked the link and bought the poem for .99 cents.
It’s really more of a short story. The poem is beautiful, but at the end of it the author, Celeste Johnston, details her life as a Giants fan—mostly how she became a Giants fan. I was captured by her words. Not just because I could relate to how this team imprinted itself on to her soul in the 70’s at the same time it did to me. I was hooked by the beginning as I read about a girl who grew up in a baseball family that lived and breathed baseball. But remember, in the 70’s we were still a long way away from any meaningful benefits that Title IX would bring to women’s sports. It was hardly a given that a young girl in the 70’s would automatically become a fan of baseball or any sport. As many of you know, I am a big supporter of women’s sports—I go to more Stanford women’s soccer and basketball games than I do the men’s. And I happen to be raising quite the female athlete if I do say so myself.
As a boy, I fell backwards and quite easily into being a Giants fan. It was more of a meandering path for Celeste. For instance, here is an excerpt that shows her inclination towards the underdog:
“I remember one time in my first grade class, crying for George McGovern because he had only received one vote (mine) in a classroom poll of who the children’s parents were voting for. I remember looking at the lone little chalk mark on the black board that represented my vote compared to the scores of votes on the other side of the board for Nixon. I felt so bad for McGovern and a little for myself because I was clearly apart from the rest of the class and even after the teacher, seeing that I was upset, asked if I wanted to change my vote to join the rest of the class, I stubbornly refused because I would not abandon Mr McGovern and leave him to his unpopular fate….”
As a girl, growing up in a family of Dodger fans, you can see how the seeds of her Giant fandom were sprinkled……
There are so many parts of this *short story* that I enjoyed. She talks about her love of Candlestick and how her child-eyes saw the ballpark. For instance:
“I was in love; just happy to be at the ballpark. I used to dream of what it would be like to be trapped in the ballpark alone at night. Innocently I thought it would be wonderful, safely sequestered within the stadium walls where I could run around the outfield and sleep on the grass with only the stars as my canopy above. It was a dream I had after every game, to hide away after everyone left and the stadium my own to play in….”
She talks about the struggles her family had to make ends meet and how that impacted the 3 Giants games or so that her dad would take her too each year.
I’m going to stop uploading excerpts now. I’ve intentionally not posted any part of her poem because it would ruin the read to only show snippets. I’m hoping that my endorsement as well as the two excerpts above from her *epilogue* will be enough to encourage you to buy it. It’s .99 cents and while I don’t know what Celeste does for a living I’m pretty sure sure isn’t a professional writer. No October came from her heart and she puts words together like I wish I could. It was an honor to read her writing. Here’s the link:
By the way, if you are like me and didn’t understand the *kindle* part of the link, don’t worry you don’t have to have a kindle. That’s just Amazon’s way of hooking you up with their cloud or where ever it is that this poem is stored. No matter, after you buy it, it’s easily accessible from the link. Enjoy.