Grandma Got Game

March 13,2014

Recently Grace Butcher, an Ohio-based poet and writer who contributed four poems and a short story to my book, Girls Got Game, shared an anecdote involving her 11-year-old granddaughter, Kate. It seems that Kate, who lives with her family in New Hampshire, was studying poetry in her fifth-grade class. Her teacher brought in a poem for a lesson on metaphor and noticed that the last name of the poet was the same as Kate’s. “That must be my grandmother,” Kate said. “Is your grandmother a poet?” the teacher asked. “Yes,” said Kate. “Was she a champion runner?” the teacher asked. Kate again replied, “Yes.”

Kate’s teacher was using Grace’s poem “Track,” which has a cheetah metaphor. (“My track shoes turn me into a cheetah….”) Grace’s bio in the book notes that she started running track in 1949, and that she was the U.S. champion in the 800 meters three times.

Since Kate wasn’t even born when Girls Got Game was published in 2001, it’s great that the book has endured. “Kate was so excited—as was I,” Grace told me. “What a neat thing. What are the odds that my poem would turn up in my granddaughter’s classroom in New Hampshire?”

Several of the sports stories and poems from Girls Got Game have found new life beyond that anthology, but none with such charming results as this one. As Grace says, it was a terrific example of synchronicity.