What is a Player? Poem Summary Notes and Line by Line Explanation in English Class 9th


‘What is a Player’ is a poem written by young poet Jessica Taylor. It is a poem that details of what are the characteristics a true player ought to possess. 

About the Poet:

Jessica Taylor is a budding young poet hailing from Louisiana. At a very young age, she had a penchant for both music and poetry. Famous works of hers include ‘I Hate’, ‘I Am Worried’, and ‘Loneliness’. 


The theme of this poem is sports. The poem lists out what a good player must be. From the lines of the poem, it can be assumed that the player mentioned is playing a ball game, either football or soccer, making it the theme of the poem.


This poem is divided into four stanzas. The first two stanzas are quatrains while the next two are made up of five lines each. The quatrains alone follow the rhyme scheme aabb. The next two stanzas do not adhere to a particular rhyme scheme.

Stanza 1:

A player is one, who doesn't give up at the sight of defeat, 
But learns from their mistakes and puts them beneath. 
A player is one who doesn't give up at the sound of the buzzer, 
Always giving what they have from one side of the court to the other.

The poem begins by listing out the qualities a player should have. They are not to give up in the face of defeat. Instead, they learn from the mistakes they had made, giving their best at all times come what may. Here, ‘what they have’ can be assumed to be the ball. The intention thus is to score a goal despite all the odds.

Stanza 2:

A player is one who doesn't whine about their play time, 
Because a player knows it's an unacceptable crime. 
A player is one who practises game-speed, 
Always keeping in mind that their shots are not guaranteed.

The poem goes on to state how a player ought not to complain about the duration of the time they devote to their game for it is an ‘unacceptable’ crime. Again, a player also must learn to up their game speed for every shot is not guaranteed to become a goal. They should thus be fast, quick on their feet. 

Stanza 3:

A player is one who doesn't settle for anything less, 
Even knowing, that they're not the best. 
They will be the ones you see outside practising, 
Day or night, rain or shine, 
They are the ones running on hurt ankles, admitting they’re fine.

The third stanza is a continuation of the sentiments echoed in the previous stanza. Here, the poem states how a player should not settle for anything less than a win. To win must always be their goal, even when aware that they are not the best, meaning to state how they must give their absolute best. They are the ones who relentlessly practice, paying no heed to any physical injuries they might have been subjected to in the game, brushing it off as nothing.

Stanza 4:

A player is one, who has a strong, sensible mind, 
Never pondering about failing, only contemplating prevailing. 
A player is one who doesn't chicken out, 
Who wants to be in the game when everything counts
Now, that is a true player.

In the final stanza, the poem states that a player should possess a sensible, calm, and unwavering mind. They should never think about failure, only think about how to stay in the game. They must never cower either. Such a player, the poem concludes, is whom is a true player. 


This is a poem that elaborates on how a good player should be, how passionate and determinate they must be in the game. Only when they always have winning in their mind do they evolve to become a true player.