Frank Maguire
Return to Legend Derry: The "Mighty" Reborn
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By Frank Maguire
June 6, 2010

In my youth I pursued various sports with an almost insane passion. I confess, though, that one encounter with football convinced me that any passion for getting smashed about for the "fun of it" is truly insane.

I liked the finesse sports: basketball, before it became an elbow-winging brawl; cross-country running, where the worst discomfort was running in one's scanties through Boston's icy blasts, up hill and down dale, threatened by hypothermia; and baseball, where despite the fact that I suffered a broken back while making a circus catch that made Willie May's magnificent grab look like child's play — despite that anomalous incident, I held baseball certainly to be the most absolute heavenly perfection.

In the era of the 1940s-'50s, baseball was still a team sport. And though some players were more capable than others what mattered was the team. One never was critical of one's teammates as long as they were giving it their all. The ideal was always "Don't let the team down."

This explains why, when I first read the classic poem "Casey at the Bat," written in 1888 by Ernest Thayer, I suffered the lasting pain that accompanies empathy with one who suffers the ignominy of unjust expulsion — from hero to outcast in one unsuccessful swing of a bat.

Many years later I decided to salvage the legendary hero...to give him the opportunity to regain his seat of honour in the annals of sport. I placed him back in his native Ireland, and made him a member of the Finscéal Hurlers. I gave him a second chance to shine in the sun.


Somewhere the Sun is Shining

by Frank Maguire

No battleground surpassed it, not rampart, hill or field,
As the soiled and savage rivals, though exhausted, would not yield.
One-hundred-fifty yards they raged, one-hundred-fifty more,
Yet not a single ball was caged, yet not a single score.

Though Camans buzzed and whirred and whizzed and horsehide sphere did fly,
And players swore, and players fell, and partisans did cry,
Not one among the thirty could pierce each fierce redoubt,
And it seemed to all that mortal man could never end the bout.

Then, suddenly, it seemed, Ol' Nick abetted Clabarside,
O'Kelley's head stopped hurley stroke (for sure we thought he'd died)
Coach Duffy bellowed to the bench to "Send the new man in,"
All fresh and grim, determined, trim, with but one thought, "to win!"

The rookie giant, though untried, did look the hero's part;
He'd steely sinew, stealth and speed, now if he had the heart.
Perhaps one-hundred-fifty yards he'd hurl it to the net;
Perhaps this burly, mortal man could beat the Devil yet.

Ten thousand fans were silent as the giant stripped the ball,
And drew his mighty arms back, and hurled it with his all;
It rocketed the lengthy field just like a shooting star,
And tore into the helpless net, a foot below the bar.

Somewhere the rain is falling, somewhere another's failed;
Somewhere a fallen hero's booed who yesterday was hailed;
But in the town Finscéal there's one who did reclaim
The glory of his yesterdays...Casey is his name.

© Frank Maguire

 

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Frank Maguire

(Frank Maguire passed away on May 19, 2021. His obituary can be read here.

Frank Maguire was born in Dorchester, MA, 1938, attended schools in Massachusetts, California, and Arizona, where he completed degrees in music and English writing/Journalism. Frank has been married to Helen Isabel Maguire Estevez of Culver City, California, since 1957. They have six children, 14 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren.

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