“First Practice” Essay # 2 by Khemchand Ramlogan

First Practice

By Gray Gildner

Vocabulary Words


Ruptured – Noun

a. The process or instance of breaking open or bursting.

b. The state of being broken open.





Practice – Verb

To do or perform habitually or customarily; make a habit of: To do or perform (something) repeatedly in order to acquire or polish a skill:




1 Where we went in case of attack or storm


Shelter  – something beneath, behind, or within which a person, animal, or thing is protected from storms, missiles, adverse conditions, etc.; refuge.   When a person is in a shelter, the outside conditions must be very dangerous.  A shelter is designed to protect you and make you safe from the outside elements.  In a society that we live in today where our country is in a mist of war, having a shelter would be considered a place of safety, a place during a war that you will not get hurt.   When you are in a shelter you would feel most comfortable during the worst of times.  If you are playing a game against another team, then feeling like you are in a comfortable place will put you in a better place to win the game.


2 Dogs ate dogs (dog eat dog)

According to http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dog-eat-dog this means “marked by destructive or ruthless competition; without self-restraint,”.  Another meaning for this is ruthlessly competitive: “You have to look out for your own interests; it’s a dog-eat-dog world.”   It is easy to describe this world that we live in as a dog eat dog world just because of the amount of competitiveness that we go through.  From our jobs to our school work we are always competing to be the best at what we do.

Another reference that I found comes for UrbanDictironary.com, and it stated that “Survival of the fittest” in its most literal definition. Everyone fends for themselves. If you can’t take care of yourself, you get eliminated.  This term has been used in everyday language to express a way to do your best in whatever you are doing.





Explication of Gary Gildner’s

“First Practice”


In our society people will use figurative language to express their feelings and ideas.  The author can also use a special place to do the same thing.  These words and phrases are most likely terms are used in everyday language.  The locations used in the poems are usually places that most people familiar with, even if they have never been to the place before.  In the poem “First Practice” written by Gary Gildner, Gildner describes a speech that is given to a team by their coach on their first practice.  Gary has used a few different words to make the poem even more meaningful and descriptive. In this explication, I will list and describe some of the key words that he uses to make the poem more significant.  So of these words are “dog ate doge” and “Under the grade school, where we went in case of attack or storm”.  These are not words that only describe the sport, but about life in general.

This poem talks about the first practice between a coach and his team.  The first impression that a coach gives to his team is the most important.  This is just like a famous saying “the first impression is the most important one.”  If a coach comes across too weak in front of his team then the team will not have any faith or belief in him or her.  The coach takes the team to a place “under the grade school, where we went in case of attack or storm”.

While reading this poem I made several annotations.  An annotation is a note added in explanation to a literary work.  My first annotation is comes from the fourth line in the poem.  “Under the grade school, where we went in case of attack or storm”, this is referring to a shelter.  According to www.dictionary.reference.com , the word shelter means something beneath, behind, or within which a person, animal, or thing is protected from storms, missiles, adverse conditions.  At first I did not understand what this had to do with a practice.

However after writing the annotation it became very clear to me the point Glidner was trying to get across.  All schools are designed to protect people from any dangers that might be harmful if you stay outside.  When you are in a shelter you feel that you are in a safe place, a place where you are protected from danger and all other harms that the outside might have.  Most importantly you are in a comfortable setting where you have the most control.  I believe that this is the point the coach Clifford Hill was trying to make.  He wanted his team to feel comfortable on the field so that they came have a better chance to win the game.  The way the coach does this is by providing a setting that will ensure the players that they are safe, a place such as a shelter.  This will make the players feel better about playing the game.  It has been proven throughout sports entertainment that the home team feels more confident at home than the away team that is visiting them.

Later on in the poem he was described as a man who believed dogs ate dogs and a man who killed for his country.  This sentence shows just how tough the coach was. This where my second annotation come from.  The coach Clifford Hill was not talking about a dog that ate another dog, but the term commonly used dog eat dog.  According to www.dictionary.reference.com, the phrase dog eat dog means “marked by destructive or ruthless competition; without self-restraint,”.  Another meaning for this is ruthlessly competitive: “You have to look out for your own interests; it’s a dog-eat-dog world.”

This is a common term used especially in a competitive environment.  A saying that is used to make people understand that failure is not an option, and that you must be successful in order to survive.  If you take a look at the stock market traders, you will see that it is a dog eat dog world.  Stock market traders are always trying to compete with other trades to get their stocks sold.  They know that if the stocks do not get sold that they will be losing a lot of money.  In a similar thought that was the point that the coach wanted to get across to the players.  If they do not give it their all then the team will never win a title.

He had a background from the military and that’s how he wanted to run his team.  The poem goes on to say that “if there are any girls present for them to leave now.”  This show how serious Coach Clifford Hill was.  He did not want any weak players playing for him.  This was a way of separating the boys from the men.  The coach was making a metaphor with the girls and the men.  The girls are showing a weaker side to the team and players whereas the men would be the stronger, more muscular part of the team.

Since no one left after that question, Coach Clifford Hill came to the conclusion that the whole team was “hungry men who hate to lose as much as I do”.  The team together stayed mostly because they had the support of each other in a comfortable setting.  The phrase “hungry men who hate to lose as much as I do” meant that the all the players only wanted one thing, to win just like the coach.  For the coach’s first drill he made two lines of the players facing each other.  Coach Clifford Hill then said “is the man you hate most in the world, and if you are to win that title I want to see how”.  This was a way of making the players get a feeling that the other team that they play are like the enemies.  They should hate them the most in the world.  Feeling this way will bring out the best in the players, and that is what will win the title.  At the end of the poem Coach Clifford Hill says “I don’t want to see any marks when you‘re dressed, “.  I believed that this was a very strong statement by the coach that meant play tough in the game but when you are getting dressed you should not have any marks or bruises on their skin.  In a way the coach was saying that he cared about the players wellbeing but at the same time he wanted them to play as hard as they can so they can win.  This would be said just before the start of the game.  It would be getting the players mentally ready for the game.

In conclusion, it has been proven throughout the years that with hard work and dedication you can become very successful with your life. It does not matter if it is your first practice or your job you must keep in mind that this is a dog eat dog world that we live in.  This poem was a prime example of how this world can be perceived as a game.  The author Gray Gildner used some poetic devices such as metaphors to help better explain to the reader the meaning of this poem.  Also that no matter where you are you are most comfortable at home where you feel safe.  These are simple ideas that go a long way in our life’s journey.  One can interpret this poem by Gray Gildner as a message that should be carried out regardless of the task at hand.










Work Cited

Gary, Gildner. “First Practice” Poetry: An Introduction. Ed. Michael

Meyer. 6th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010. 283. Print

“Dog-eat-dog.” Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com. Web. 13 May 2012. <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dog-eat-dog>.

“Shelter.” Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com. Web. 13 May 2012. <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/shelter>.

“Dog eat dog.” UrbanDictionary.com. UrbanDictionary.com. Web 13 May 2012


“Rupture.” The Free Dictionary. Farlex. Web. 13 May 2012. <http://www.thefreedictionary.com/rupture>.


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