SuperVerse   Sports Poems from Hoosier Poets



          Joseph Heithaus


    after portrait of Johnny Unitas by Joe Sheppard

            at the National Art Museum of Sport


Unitas, Unite Us, Unitas, Unite us,

hear the crowd, their pleading chant

cutting through the cold, see their breath. 


But look, this is only a bent and tired man

draping his wrist on a helmet. He is no colt,

no hero, no legend, holding himself

barely erect on the edge of a field of battle. 


This is a man watching a game of men,

stooped like you with your head

bare, your dreams linked to what happens

between these muddy lines. 

This is you, united to him, your own


shadow and light, your own bones

and whispers standing on the sidelines,

now hunched over staring

into this painting, this poem, this game,

this man hoping he might bring you

some relief, might make you whole.