#SOL19: Just a few seconds

A prone form.


On the 48 yard line.



Two coaches run out.

The crowd quiets.

An EMT arrives in the circle.

He talks to the coaches.

He motions to the ambulance.

My stomach drops.

It’s hard to breathe normally.

I check the program.

I check the sideline.

A sigh of relief when it is not my great nephew.




slowly. . .

The parents are NOT in attendance.

Some of the crowd are NOT so silent.

Time moves so slowly.


Slam into the present.

Over shadowing the current reality.

Days gone past:  broken bones, concussion protocols, and arranging transportation.

Such is the life of a football parent.

But what if . . . ?

Regretfully . . .

Preventable . . .

Time moves so slowly when

a young man is eventually loaded onto a backboard.

And then a stretcher.

And then into an ambulance.

But the ambulance sits there.


No flashing lights

Silence is deafening.

Time moves so slowly.

16 minutes before it moves.

When does every minute count? 

When is “the first response” critical? 

What information is needed by whom?  And when?

Who controls the safety of these youngsters?

Just a few seconds

A bit of inattention

A lasting impact.

What is the level of vigilance in our classrooms?

Fortunately, classrooms are not contact sports.

But . . .

What do we see?

What do we miss?

How do we keep our focus when the needs are so many? 

What is the impact of just a few seconds?

How do we make sure we focus on learning? 

How do we make every second count? 

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for this weekly forum. Check out the writers and readers here.

Screenshot 2019-01-29 at 3.12.16 AM.png

What if, for our 35% of our students with test anxiety, that this is how they feel, knocked down and unable to move?

13 responses

  1. Fran your post reminds me of the urgency of teaching. Such tension and importance in your words.

    1. Christine,
      What of the students who need an instructional ER due to ineffective instruction? Totally a sense of urgency. No do-overs.

  2. I held my breath as I read your poem …

    1. Thanks, Kevin. My heart still hurts!

  3. Like Kevin, I was hanging on every word of your powerful text, Fran.

    1. Carol,
      I had to keep editing. So many things I wanted to say that were all my opinions and my perspective.

  4. I cannot imagine being a football parent. That tension you described once the player was down made my entire body tense. One needs nerves of steel if their kid plays football. (I don’t have those nerves.)

    1. Stacey,
      I’m a huge football fan. This was the worst. I never saw this level of injury when my son was playing. However, this was the reason for always attending. Statistics on sports injuries are interesting as football is not the most hazardous sport.

  5. Fran, your poem reminds me that life changing moments can happen in the blink of an eye whether on a football field or in a classroom. We must be ever vigilant. I felt my pulse begin to race as I read this.

    1. Intentionality is on my mind. But are “good intentions” enough? How do we embrace the need to be vigilant with all the desires for freedom? Still thinking!

  6. I was on the edge of my seat and I think I just took my first breath. The mood and the tension were so powerful in this piece. I felt like a read it with my heartbeat. Rules and regulations are often problematic. As an educator with a husband who is a pediatrician — we have this conversation often.

    1. Clare,
      Proof that one or two seconds can change the world for an individual, a group or . . . !

      I’m trying it out in several formats. It was first a letter. And then paragraphs. And then this . . .

  7. Your poem is so powerful!
    The movement from left to center to right captivated me.
    Then your shift from the field to the classroom…you got me to think even more.
    “What is the impact of just a few seconds?”
    I’ll be thinking about….
    Thanks for keeping me thinking!!

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