Grade 11th – 3rd term
Location: Class room
I had my accountancy text book open in front of me which is the size of the New Testament and Old Testament combined together. I removed my accountancy record book from my bag and this book almost reached from the tip of my fingers to the elbow. With neither the text book nor my record book fitting on my desk I think I should have the teacher’s desk to fit these two books.
In the middle of the class my P.Ed (Physical Education) teacher came in an asked my accountancy teacher if he takes few minutes of her time. My accountancy teacher happily gave him the permission. I think she was glad to get a few minutes rest. A teacher trying to take care of 30 students in a class wasn’t a joke.
My P.Ed teacher told us that a sports selection is going to take place and all those who are interested can give their names. Those who are selected can go for the nationals in Jubail (Saudi Arabia). Well to start with, I haven’t been in any of the sports activities that took place in my school for the past 5 years and I have no clue whether I could even cross the finish line without stopping to get my strength back. I enrolled. At least if they call me for practice I could skip these boring classes. Sweet! My P.Ed teacher told to all those who gave their names should be there at the football field by 5 pm.
The football field
At 1:30 pm the last class was over and I went home thinking to myself will I ever get selected for the nationals. I’ve heard of other guys who were so fast that you just got to blink once and there they are at the finish line. I wasn’t good at anything. So what if I just give it a try. At least I tried. That was enough for me. I tried……..
At 4:50 my dad dropped me in front of my school and I started walking towards the football field. I froze. What on earth? The whole ground were filled with students. Most of them were taller than me. Most of them were warming up. And I just stood and stared as if I was seeing the enemy getting ready for battle. Why on earth did I ever get myself into this mess? Waste of time. Damn.
My P.Ed teacher blew his whistle and said all those interested in 100 meters race please go to the starting line. Yup! I’m here miles away from home. I have nowhere to go if I turn back now. What the hell… Just go and be done with it.
I went to the starting point and got myself ready. I turned to my left and noticed there were at least 40 of us at the starting line ready to race. All of them were taller than me. Some of them were well built. And I stood there like a dead scarecrow waiting for the crows to peck my flesh out.
I waited for my P.Ed teacher to blow the whistle. I was breathing hard and staring at the finish line which looked like as if it’s going to take me a whole day to reach.
This is the first time after five years I will be running on the track. All these weird thoughts kept coming to my head. It was more like a whisper. Voices……..
“Ryan, forget it. It’s no use. You are just going to fall half way down the track begging for someone to give you a glass of water”.
Snap out of it idiot. I took a deep breath and……
P.Ed teacher: On your mark.
Me: Come on.
P.Ed teacher: Get set.
Me: God please.
P.Ed teacher: GOOOOOO
I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and ran. I heard hundreds of shoes scratching against the tarred ground. I ran…. I could feel the breeze on my face…. I felt so light. I opened my eyes half way down the track expecting the other runners to be close to the finish line. What the hell… Where was everybody? Where are the other runners? I was still running and suddenly from somewhere in the crowd someone shouted, “Go Ryan, Go”. Everyone was screaming. While still running I turned back and saw the rest of the runner’s way behind. What on earth is going on? Everybody started shouting my name. I don’t know how but suddenly I felt a gush of strength flowing into my body and I ran towards the finish line with every bit of strength I had in me. I crossed the finish line. Wow! My P.Ed teacher shouted, “11 seconds. A new record”. Wow! Everybody surrounded me and was clapping, congratulating me and…. Wow! I was out of breath, I was like….Wow!
My P.Ed teacher then said out loud again,” All those who wish to go for 200 meters. Go to the starting line.” I went to the starting line with my head up, smiling. Everyone was like;” You can do it, Ryan”.
Heard the whistle and ran as if there were dogs chasing me. Half way again I noticed I was in the lead. Yeah! I’m the man now. Everybody was cheering. That maybe gave me more strength. I ran and crossed the finish line.
I was selected for the nationals in Jubail and I never knew I had this talent in me, this speed. I told this to my parents I was selected for the nationals and they were so happy.
The annual sports week
The next day it was my annual sports week. When I reached school as usual the next day, it was so different. Guys who I never even heard of or seen before were all wishing me good luck. I think the whole school knows about me now. Someone told me my seniors are really nervous. My house captain saw me from a distance and he went on a full throttle and gave me a big hug and said,” The topaz (yellow) house is counting on you bro.” He then started shouting so loud, I guess even the school bell couldn’t ring that loud. He shouted at the other houses, boasting,” Hey, the road runner is here. You guys are dead.” He started laughing. The whole topaz house started shouting out my name. I never felt so lively. I felt I was somebody at last.
The whole school came out to watch. The whole staffs were present to. The first race was the 100 meters. Here I go. I jogged to the starting line. There were a total of 10 runners going to run along with me. All of us with just one mission, that is reach the finish line before others could.
Sir: On your mark.
Me: Here goes.
Sir: Get set
Me: (Looked at my legs) don’t put me down boys.
I ran liked never before. Everybody was screaming. All of them started shouting,” Road Runner, Road Runner …” I broke my previous record. 10.98 seconds. I won a first prize. The other houses started getting really nervous. My house captain was shouting orders like mad. He suddenly felt he should encourage the house much more.
The next race was the 200 meters. The same chanting from the crowd.
Sir: On your mark.
Me: Bring it on.
Sir: Get set.
Me: (Looking down on my legs again) let’s do it again.
We all started at same time. But at the turn I lost my grip a bit. I was so close to the guy in front of me. Well, I reached second place. The timing for me was 14.99 seconds and the guy who won first place got 14.97 seconds. No probs. Still my house was in the lead. The other activities like the long jump, disc throw and high jump went out well for the topaz house. The last race is yet to come. The 4×100 relay race.
I was beginning to get tired. But out of happiness I wanted to run and make my team proud of me.
They called my name to get ready and head to one of the four corners of the field. I will be the last one to get the baton from my team mate and then I should sprint to the finish.
I heard the whistle. It has begun. The first two ran slow. But somehow the third runner made up. Damn, all the three teams got the baton and started running. I got the baton and ran full throttle towards the finish line. I passed the first house and did my best to pass the other two houses. I couldn’t. They were in the lead. Anyway we got the third place.
They called my name three times to go on stage to get my certificates. I was declared one of the fastest runners in school. I got 1st place for 100 meters, 2nd place for 200 meters and 3rd place for 4×100 relay.
The Proud Ones
After all the racket was over, I went out of the school and saw my mom waiting for me and for my dad to come. My mom saw me and smiled. She said, “Everybody in the staff room was talking about the way you ran today.” She was proud of me. We waited for my dad to come. He usually goes over to Girls section which in some other location and then he comes over to the Boys section to pick me and my mom. When my dad arrived, I saw my sisters smiling at me. When we got in the car, my sisters started chattering like monkeys. “Bro. we heard you are one of the fastest runners in school. Everybody in the girl’s section was talking about you.” I was surprised to hear how fast the news reached the girls section. Whatever, the girls were all talking about me. That’s more than enough. Hehe… I turned my head to the left to see my dad. I had a smile on his face. He was happy with me. He didn’t have to say that loud. I just knew it.
Waiting for the Nationals
The next day I was called to be on the football field everyday from 4pm to 6pm. My P.Ed teacher wanted all those who were selected to get ready for the nationals. During the practice I got a fatigue on my right leg and we had only 5 days left for us to go to Jubail for the nationals. I was really disappointed that I had to get this injury at this time. Damn. This slowed me down a lot. Five days went really fast and I was ready to go.
To be continued….