Date: May 5th, 2014

Running Back

by Jacqueline Jules
The Poetry Friday Anthology
He’s on the big screen again,
with padded shoulders,
and shiny tight pants.
The number on his jersey
identifies him clearly
for the cameras and the crowd,
as he clamps a strap under his chin,
without ever looking up.
I watch from my living room,
sometimes booing,
sometimes cheering,
but always wishing
I could put on a helmet
and run like that—
past all those guys
trying to knock me down—
not caring a bit
who’s booing or who’s cheering,
’cause I’ve got the ball in my hand.

Copyright © 2012 Jacqueline Jules. From the book The Poetry Friday Anthologyms for the School Year with Connections to the Common Core. Pomelo Books. Reprinted by permission of the author.

About This Poem

I am not much of an athlete myself but my sons love sports. I  keep up with their favorite teams so I don’t sound like a complete idiot when we talk about what they did over the weekend. Whenever I watch any kind of sport, I am struck by the courage and determination of the athletes. Competition takes great concentration and perseverance. Thinking about this inspired me to write a series of poems using imagery from different sports. The running back in this poem represents my own desire to follow my instincts and not worry about what other people are saying about me.

Suggestions for Further Activities

Write your own free verse poem about your favorite sport. To read some examples of students who tried this in their classroom, see the work of Mrs. Skelly’s and Mrs. Luke-Byk’s Fourth-Grade Students  at

About The Author

Children's Author Jacqueline JulesJacqueline Jules is the award-winning author of 26 children’s books, including the Zapato Power series, Unite or Die: How Thirteen States Became a Nation, Duck for Turkey Day, No English, and Never Say a Mean Word Again. Her poetry has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies including The Poetry Friday Anthologies edited by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. She won the Arlington Arts Moving Words Contest, Best Original Poetry Award from the Catholic Press Association, and the SCBWI Magazine Merit Poetry Award. She blogs about her experience with teaching writing at Pencil Tips Writing Workshop. To learn more about her books and read more of her poetry, visit her online at


Where to Buy this Book

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