I wasn’t 9 anymore, I am 12. My eyes focused back on the track in front of me, I was ready to give up, there was no way I was winning this. How stupid was I? Thinking of competing against these born athletes. Being so adamant and stubborn to my parents for paying the fees for my race, although I knew that our budget was tight and my family couldn’t afford this… Yet I kept dreaming, and here I am now, wasting my dream, my family’s budget and all the dinner nights out.
*My chest felt like it was about to fall into my stomach when I saw what rank I was in the race – 6th – I knew from the poster that only the first two got into the Jamburi camp, although kind words were used on the poster like – “it’s important that you tried and it’s OK if you didn’t win,” but I knew the deeper meaning said – Bye bye and thanks for participating in the qualification race, but you didn’t win!
Looking ahead at everyone running in their short pants and runner tees I could sense the super-competitive environment around the race track buzzing, it was so strong that my legs felt like they were going to implode from the energy outside.
My eyes darted to the statistics board. Last lap! This was it, my last chance to get into the camp. I thought about all the past sports days and events, how I had never been close to athletic and how I always stood in the stands, holding my mother’s hand, watching, only watching every time – everyone got medals and trophies for winning races, games, sports and so much more. While I just stood there, every year, but always receiving an award from my mother – her old watch.
“It’s alright sweetie, you will win next year for sure! And even if you don’t you will always be my champion, and your father’s and brothers! So here is an award for our champion!” She said every year holding out her watch to me, tricking me so easily…
Not this time though, I wasn’t 9 anymore, I am 12. My eyes focused back on the track in front of me, I was ready to give up, there was no way I was winning this. How stupid was I? Thinking of competing against these born athletes. Being so adamant and stubborn to my parents for paying the fees for my race, although I knew that our budget was tight and my family couldn’t afford this… Yet I kept dreaming, and here I am now, wasting my dream, my family’s budget and all the dinner nights out.
I felt like a failure in my life, I wanted to give up, quit the race right now and go to my room and cry, I had almost finalized my decision when I thought – What if this was weighing me down? This feeling of not being able to do anything, believing that I couldn’t do anything. Would I be feeling any different if I was a kid who played sports? Would I be feeling more – Determined?
Suddenly a wave of anger washed over me, why would I feel more determined if I was a sporty kid? I was the reason I was this far back in the race. And it was up to me to change it – change all those sports days, all the sympathy everyone showed when they saw me without a medal or even a certificate. This was how I would change how others thought about me, and most importantly- how I thought about myself.
The next thing I knew – I was filled with a new kind of energy – determination, and saw myself catching up to the runner in the 5th rank. I overtook her quickly. I pushed myself even further and looked up to the blue and clear sky to see three birds streaking across the sky. Trying to catch up with them, I sprinted across all the runners catching up to the one in the first place. We ran in a tie for the next 25 or so meters until we could both see the finish line – it was only meters away, we pushed ourselves with all the energy we had left and groaned in the effort.
The finish line was only a meter away now. I opened my legs wider and put the last of my energy into sprinting forward….
I heard the horn blare and my name being announced the winner! I was taken into shock! I felt my legs tremble out of exhaustion and my head buzzed with happiness… I was lost in the clap’s of the crowd for a couple of minutes, and then after getting over my happiness I realized, how had I won? I was never an athlete and I was definitely nowhere close to winning from the start either, this only proved one thing – anything can be won with determination no matter what the circumstances are. And I was determined.
* This story was written by me, but it is not about an event in my life, in fact, it was a personally significant in my mom’s life…