Ex-Basketball Player by John Updike Essay

1044 Words 5 Pages
Remember that boy in high school that was the star of the basketball team? He still holds most of the records for the team. He scored more points than anyone else in the school’s history. He never studied much because he was an athlete. His basketball skills were going to take him places. But high school ended and there are no more games to be played. Where is that former all-star now? In his poem “Ex-Basketball Player,” John Updike examines the life of a former high school basketball star. Flick Webb was a local hero, and he loved basketball. He never studied much in school or learned a trade because he was a talented athlete. Now years later, the only job Flick can find is working at the local gas station. He used to be a star, but now …show more content…
Remember that boy in high school that was the star of the basketball team? He still holds most of the records for the team. He scored more points than anyone else in the school’s history. He never studied much because he was an athlete. His basketball skills were going to take him places. But high school ended and there are no more games to be played. Where is that former all-star now? In his poem “Ex-Basketball Player,” John Updike examines the life of a former high school basketball star. Flick Webb was a local hero, and he loved basketball. He never studied much in school or learned a trade because he was a talented athlete. Now years later, the only job Flick can find is working at the local gas station. He used to be a star, but now he just “sells gas, checks oil, and changes flats” (19-20). The purpose of Updike’s poem is to convince the reader that athletes should also focus on getting a good education.
The poem opens with a description of Pearl Avenue, the street that runs in front of the high school. Flick Webb used to play basketball there. In the first stanza, Updike cleverly incorporates several basketball terms into the poem, as he paints a gloomy image of the street that leads to the gas station where Flick now works. The words stops, cut off, blocks, and corner all refer to the game of basketball but Updike uses the words in a different way. For example, the word block is used in reference to city blocks and corner is used to describe a street corner. Even
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