Passion… cont’d (day 3)

 

As the chilly early spring breeze

cut right through my thin long sleeve shirt,

I pondered turning around and walking back into the locker room.

The coach already hated me

I was a member of “that’ group of girls

(of which I was sure they didn’t want me to be a part)

and practice hadn’t yet officially begun.

 

Just as my mind was made up to cut my losses early on

roll call was over and our warmup assignment was given-

thereby squelching any opportunity for escape.

 

“1 mile loop and then back to the track for stretching” coach bellowed out.

As his word hit my ears, they were quickly drowned out

by the thudding of my heart and my own inner voice.

“1 mile? He seriously wanted us to run 1 mile just as a warmup?!?

I had never even run more than 1/4 of a mile…

There was NO way I could run a mile 

especially as just a warmup! I had signed up to run sprints…

and 1 mile was WAY past the distance of which I believed sprinters should ever have to run!

What was I doing out here anyways?”

 

Looking around, I realized that I was not the only person feeling aghast about the assignment.

Soon, the six of us stragglers, plus a few new additions teamed up and started off

on the ridiculous warmup mile

together.

 

As we ran, we began to talk

and I quickly realized that I was not the only person feeling out of place

but that in reality,

none of the 10 of us really knew or understood why we were there.

Most importantly,

we all equally hated the coach

at that very moment…

sort of a united front

which began the process

of us being tightly knit together.

 

We took our time on our run,

splashing through puddles and working to catch our breath

as we ran up the giant Riverside hill.

As we all ran, awkwardly Jr. High in stature

and completely out of shape,

we all believed that

at any moment, anyone in our group

could drop dead from lack of oxygen.

Even through the excruciating pain,

that 1 mile warm up run

was the first glimmer of hope

in what had been a terribly gloomy day.

 

 

Eventually, the ten of us made our way back to the school

and slipped into the warmup lines

as inconspicuously as possible.

As we began to stretch, the sun began to peek out from behind a cloud,

offering a rare bit of respite

from the brisk wind that was whisking away any sweat

that we had conjured up on our initial run.

I leaned back and allowed the warmth

to envelop my body and provide me a comfort

that I hadn’t felt in a long time.

 

“Katie, Sarah, Jenny, April, Rachel, Elizabeth”

The gruff voice calling out my name snapped me out of my momentary peace

as my reality at hand was once again made evident.

“Before you head off to your events, come see me in the stands”

The warmth I felt on my face  was no longer from the rays of the sun

but instead,

it grew from a place deep within

that was burning with hatred at the man I was to call ‘coach’.

 

*Cont’d tomorrow

 

 

 

 

Passion cont’d…

Slowly, the hum of voices and slamming locker doors

began to diminish.

 

While I appreciated the silence,

I realized that if I didn’t quicken my pace,

I would be the last one out the door

and have all eyes on me

as I walked alone into practice.

 

With a deep breath and new resolve

I quickly threw on my clothes, laced up my new shoes

and pulled my hair back into a ponytail

as I tried to catch up with the last group of girls

walking out of the room.

 

As we made our way over to the team,

I realized that we were already running late

and roll call had begun.

“Jenny Coffman? Jenny?”

“Does anyone know Jenny or if she still plans to join?”

I saw heads start to turn to search the crowd of girls

and my heart dropped into my stomach.

I already knew I didn’t belong out here

and now

I was drawing attention to myself

even before practice had begun.

I picked up my pace and tried to answer

“here” to signal my entry

but all that escaped was an almost inaudible whisper.

“Jenny?”

Realizing that my voice wasn’t heard over the chattering of students,

I waved my arm to signal to the coach that I was indeed present

and ready to join the team,

but instead of checking off my name

and moving along with attendance,

My presence was acknowledged with a stern admonition;

signaling out myself and the five other girls I had

walked up with.

 

“You six. See me after warmups”

Words that made all of the teenage chatter halt

and turn every pair of eyes on our small group

as if we had just entered the room without wearing any clothing.

As my face began to burn

and I diverted my eyes to the ground,

someone bravely spoke up,

 

and answered with a simple

“yes sir”

to which we all accepted and nodded in solidarity.

 

*To be continued