Thursday, April 03, 2008

The day i ran for my life...

I’ve never been the athletic type. Sports and games have never appealed to me. So it naturally follows that I was quite the unhealthy, scrawny(well, not really) and timid kid. Infact, so much so that I couldn’t raise a stone if it were attached to a dragonfly! Up until my 7th std, my favourite lunch time activity was catching tadpoles in the near by spring and ofcourse eating lunch. Don’t start being squeamish, I never did both at the same time! Sheesh…

But this was not always the case. There was the time when I was in the NCC. I was fit as a fiddle. I could march across fields and mountains. I could lift boulders with my strong muscular arms. I could swim across raging rivers. I was your regular boy next door Arnold Swarchenegger. Heck! Who am I kidding.. I was more like a pig on steroids!! Nowadays, my pathetically puny body cannot even walk 2 paces without having an asthmatic attack.

Back then I never wasted an opportunity during the annual sports days in my school to show off the little athletics skills that I did have… namely, iddily and pie eating contests. These were part of the homour sports we used to have. Sadly, I wouldn’t come first even for that either… there were bigger and better pigs around! But this post is not about how piggy I can get, rather about a time when I entered the 800m race.

Like I mentioned before, I never wasted an opportunity. But usually I was not allowed to enter as there were limits kept on the number of ppl who are allowed to enter from a house. As luck would have it, there was a shortage of athletes for the 800m event and I jumped at the chance and entered. Our physical education master gave me a scornful look as he put in my name. And my house captain was looking around for a replacement so as to escape the humiliation of having one of his house come in last. I think he was secretly hoping that I would atleast finish the race. Little did they know I was going to shock them and the entire school in a couple of minutes.

The race consisted of running 4 rounds on the 200m track that was set up for the games. I took up my position on the 3rd track from the inside. I looked around to see my fellow athletes and found all of them with hungry looks on their faces as if they were going to run all over my tired ass. I looked around to the spectators. There were none. The 800m event was not a very popular event. Good, I thought. Less the number of people who see me the better. The Phy ED master asked us to get ready. And I saw all of them go down on their knees ready for the sprint. I dint bother! Hey I was not there for the glory, I was there purely for the shame!!! I too got into position, and by that I mean standing there wondering about how best to avoid being trampled.

He blew the whistle. I shut my eyes and started running like I never did before. Occasionally I opend my eyes to see if I was on the track. After what seemed an eternity and many many rounds, I started hearing people shouting at me in encouragement. There were really rubbing it in weren’t they. Did the others already finish the race 2 hours back?

I opened my eyes to a shocking sight. There was the finish line and across it the red ribbon welcoming the winner. And I was in front of everyone! I glance back to take a look at the others. The fastest boy in school, Mr Joseph, was a few meters behind me. I looked around to see a swarm of open mouthed spectators cheering me on. I doubled my effort to run even faster. Maybe ill set a school record.

Thru the corner of my eye I could see Joseph gaining on me. I could not loose now. Every muscle in my body was aching. But it dint matter. What mattered was that I was in front of everyone else. I strained. Just a few meters more. I ran as fast as my chubby legs would take me. But ultimately Joseph beat me and passed the beautiful red ribbon inches ahead of me.

A moment of silence and then the crowd erupted. All my housemates came rushing to me. Our house was trailing in the over all rankings. And all of a sudden the second prize belonged to our house… precious second prize. I was down. People piled all over me. Girls boys… there was no stopping them.

Then the Phy ED master came up to us blowing his whistle. Maybe that’s how he salutes winners, I thought. He was waving his arms frantically over his head. he was shouting. Something about my second prize being null and void!! What?! Why?! How unfair. We demanded the reason for the preferential treatment. And he readily gave it to us.

We were’t awarded the second prize because… I never completed the race… I was a good one lap behind everyone!!! :-S

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