When the fielder loves his record
More than victory for his team
Doubtful chances miss his glances
For his caution is extreme.
Going after every grounder
Means a slip-up here and there,
And in terror of an error
He will choose the chances fair.
Spotless records are enticing
In a ball game as in life,
And the cunning pick their running
To avoid the stony strife.
Many a mortal swaggers slowly
Down the years in proud parade,
Boasting to the meek and lowly
Of the slips he never made.
Well it is that wise commanders,
When they call for sterling men,
Place the workers o’er the shirkers
Though they err and err again.
Men who try and fall when trying
Try again and win at last,
Never brooding, never sighing
O’er the errors of the past.
This poem was published as part of a Kirk’s newspaper column, “Strolls Through Sportsville,” in the New York Evening Journal, March 9, 1917. Books on the topic of this poem may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore. The Imaginative Conservative applies the principle of appreciation to the discussion of culture and politics—we approach dialogue with magnanimity rather than with mere civility. Will you help us remain a refreshing oasis in the increasingly contentious arena of modern discourse? Please consider donating now.
We hope you will join us in The Imaginative Conservative community. The Imaginative Conservative is an online journal for those who seek the True, the Good and the Beautiful. We address culture, liberal learning, politics, political economy, literature, the arts and the American Republic in the tradition of Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot, Edmund Burke, Irving Babbitt, Wilhelm Roepke, Robert Nisbet, Richard Weaver, M.E. Bradford, Eric Voegelin, Christopher Dawson, Paul Elmer More and other leaders of Imaginative Conservatism. Some conservatives may look at the state of Western culture and the American Republic and see a huge, dark cloud which seems ready to unleash a storm that may well wash away what we most treasure of our inherited ways. Others focus on the silver lining which may be found in the next generation of traditional conservatives who have been inspired by Dr. Kirk and his like. We hope that The Imaginative Conservative answers T.S. Eliot’s call to “redeem the time, redeem the dream.” The Imaginative Conservative offers to our families, our communities, and the Republic, a conservatism of hope, grace, charity, gratitude and prayer.