With all the sunshine, cheating, drinking, gambling, love troubles, rain, pain, trains, second thoughts and even, from time to time, shooting and prison cropping up in sports over the last 50 years, it's a wonder there haven't been more country songs on sporting themes. Where is the bullpen song, the old-vet-talking-to-his-muscles song, the I Hit 300 Bottles (The Year I Hit .183) song?
Think of all the sports phrases that lend themselves to country titles in the area of romance alone: Things Had a Way of Evening Out (Till I Spent One Out With You), You Sure Established Your Running Game, Darlin' (I Just Wish Your Mem'ry Would Pass), Winning Is the Only Thing (My Heart Won't Let Me Do), Desire is 50% of the Came (The Other Half's My Wife), A Tie Is Like Kissing Your Sister (And I Can't Get Untied From You) or They Say That a Tie Is I Like Kissing Your Sister (Well, My Husband Is Deadlocked With Mine), I Went with the Pitch (But the Pitcher Went Off with My Car), I'm Home Getting High, Inside (While You're Somewhere Low and Away).
Both Roy Acuff and Charley Pride started out wanting baseball careers and, among current sports stars, Johnny Bench and Terry Bradshaw, at least, have done some professional country singing. But to my knowledge there had not appeared a single notable country sports song—until the current hit The Last Game of the Season (A Blind Man in the Bleachers) written by Sterling Whipple and sung by David Geddes. If you have been listening to your local country station, you have heard this song. The blind man attends all the local high school's games, waiting "to hear his son get in the game.
"But the boy's just not a hero/He's strictly second team/Though he runs each night for touchdowns/In his daddy's sweetest dreams."
Then, at halftime of the last game of the season, the boy receives a phone call. In the second half he gets into the game. He plays his heart out. His team is inspired to come from behind and win.
"And when the game was over/The coach asked him to tell/What was it he was thinking of/That made him play so well.
" 'You knew my dad was blind,' he said/'Tonight he passed away.
" 'It's the first time that my father's seen me play.' "
If that don't choke you up, you ain't never been in the clutch.