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John Updike's poem Ex-Basketball Player

Uploaded by london28 on Dec 11, 2004

Have you ever stopped and wondered what happened to the star basketball player of your high school? Did he go on and have an exciting career or did he get married and is living blissfully with 2.5 kids? Maybe neither happened to him maybe he still thinks about those glory days of high school basketball. John Updike’s poem “Ex-Basketball Player” is a look at what a dismal life this once star could have.

In the first stanza the reader is introduced to the basketball player, Flick Webb. Flick works at “Berth’s Garage” which just happens to be not even a “chance to go two blocks” away from his old high school. This is probably because Flick does not want to be to far away from the place where he had been such a idol. Flick is not even the owner of this establishment he just merely “helps Berth out.” He is in a job that is taking him nowhere and which hardly seems fitting for someone with such potential.

The third stanza gives the reader a look into his glory days. Flick “bucketed three hundred and ninety points” which the speaker seems to be in awe of. He also still holds the county record that young basketball players attempt to beat every year. Those young basketball players probably think he has gone on to become a professional athlete and not the guy that pumps their gas every morning. The speaker’s admiration is expressed again when he talks about watching “his hands that were like wild birds.” Flick had such promise and he was probably very aware that people felt that way. He probably never saw it coming when he did not receive a scholarship from any colleges or get drafted in the NBA.

The last stanzas talk about Flick’s life now. “As a gag, he dribbles an inner tube” which demonstrates that he still wants people to be impressed by his talent. It also shows that he still has some of that talent left and he still can not do anything more with it than just impress the people around him. After work Flick “hangs around Mae’s luncheonette,” this is because he probably has nobody to go home to. He does not talk to anyone just stays in a daydream where there is an audience applauding for him. When in all reality there is no audience only “Necco Wafers, Nibs,...

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Uploaded by:   london28

Date:   12/11/2004

Category:   Poetry

Length:   2 pages (552 words)

Views:   45263

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