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CONFESSIONS OF A BORN SPECTATOR
One infant grows up and becomes a jockey,
Another plays basketball or hockey,
This one the prize ring hates to enter
That one becomes a tackle or centre,
I am just as glad as glad can be
That I’m not them, that they’re not me.
With all my heart do I admire
Athletes who sweat for or hire,
Who take the field in gaudy pomp,
And maim each other as they romp,
My limp and bashful spirit feeds
On other people’s heroic deeds.
Now A runs ninety yards to score,
B knocks the champion to the floor.
C risking vertebrae and spine,
Lashes his steed across the line,
You’d think my ego it would please
To swap positions with one of these.
Well, ego might be pleased enough,
But zealous athletes play so rough,
They do not ever, in their dealings
Consider one another’s feelings.
I’m glad that when my struggle begins
Twixt prudence and ego, prudence wins.
When swollen eye meets gnarled fist
When snaps the knee, and cracks the wrist,
When calm officialdom demands,
Is there a doctor in the stands?
My soul in true thanksgiving speaks
For this most modest of physiques.
Athletes, I’ll drink to you
Or eat with you,
Or anything except competing with you,
Buy tickets worth their weight in radium,
To watch you gamble in a stadium.
And reassure me anew
That you’re not me and I’m not you.
On the basis of your reading the poem, answer the following questions as briefly as possible. Write your answers in the spaces provided.
(a) Who is the ‘spectator’ talking about?
(b) ‘That I am not them’ (line 6). Who is ‘them’ here?
(c) When does the spectator’s spirit feel ‘happy’?
(d) What does the horse rider do when he whips his horse?
(e) The athletes risk themselves because…
(f) Find a word from (lines 6.16) which means ‘too bright and showy’.
(g) ‘… One of these (line 18). For whom/what the word ‘these’ has been used here?
(h) The spectator shall drink and eat with the athletes. What is the third thing that he will do in this context?
(a) about various players and sportsmen
(c) When the athletes perform heroic deeds
(d) He risks his vertebrae and bones.
(e) they play rough and injure others.
(h) buy tickets even at the highest price