The spectators stand was already filled with some students.
The coach was smoking hot with perfect shape. She looked like she had spent more time in gym than in bedroom. I later heard from a student that she’s an athlete who had represent Nigeria in many competitions bagging some medals along the way.
She gave the prep talk like other coaches and from her talk I discovered that some students had already been disqualified from two weeks ago to now.
She admonished the remaining students to give their all as the competition is a big stage and some officials in charge of sports in Nigeria will be there to fish out outstanding talents and since it isn’t schools from Lagos only that will be participating because it’s a sport where every schools in Nigeria who qualified for the competition will be participating, she said it will be extraordinarily hard and won’t be like other competitions they’ve been attending.
I got to know from her speech that the first and second will be the main glory of the competition while the third and fourth will only be going because of the four times one hundred meter race (relay).
She had three young teachers or should I call them her assistant because they looked younger, standing behind her, a lady and two men, she asked one of them to call the qualifiers for junior boys hundred meter.
Eight names was called and everyone who had the bearing of the name fell out of the crowd and all looked excited, nervous and hopeful as they’re marched to the starting lane of the hundred meter track.
Everyone of us was sidelined as we watched the junior boys as they took to their positions with their boots firmed to their foot unlike me that’s barefooted, but I wasn’t without a partner.
The coach stood behind the students while two of her assistant were stationed at the finishing point in order to pick out the winners.
It was a moment of intensed action as the whistle was blown and the boys raced to victory. The students at the spectators stand and the ones on the pitch were doing great job in cheering the students up.
After the students got to the finishing line, the coach left the remaining job to her two assistants as she came to meet us with the single assistant with her.
She asked him to call out the senior boys and he called out twelve names.
As they marched out I followed them and head directly to the coach.
I introduced myself to her and my motive was also revealed to her.
She seemed to be thinking about it for a while as she accessed me.
” alright, I’ll give you a chance, hope you deserve it ” she said after arriving at a conclusion.
She marched us to the starting lane before she gave out the instructions.
Mohammed was giving me a weird stare as we marched down to the lane but I didn’t bothered myself about him as I had a hearty smile on my lip.
” we’re supposed to have it as six by six and the two champions from the two groups will compete for their places but because of the last minute participation of Benjamin who’s just a new student, one of the groups will be seven and three people will be selected for the final challenge, which means five of you will be going for the final spots and we’ll get our four from the five” the coach explicated to us patiently before she grouped us into two groups.
I and Mohammed found ourselves in the same group which was the group comprising of six while Philip was in seven.
Philip’s group was asked to take the spot first.
” on your mark ” the coach ordered and the seven of them bent down, with their hands on the lane.
” set ” she ordered and they raised their body up a bit and after few seconds, the whistle went off and the race started.
The clamoring of cheer from the spectators this time was higher than the first.
Philip took the first position.
We were asked to take our positions after the first group got to the finishing line.
Mohammed made an Undertaker signature to me by drawing his thumb on his neck like a knife slicing through it as we took to our position.
I decided to surprise everyone by trying to look like I was lucky. When the whistle went off, I started at a slow pace and fifty meters to the finishing line, I increased my speed and took the second position which looked like luck.
Mohammed took the first position and he looked very satisfied about it.
” thought you said you can run ” Philip snickered as we head back to the finishing line.
” I thought I can ” I replied him smiling.
We all took to our position again and this time, I didn’t know why but I was kinda feeling tensed as my heart was beating faster.
The whistle went off and with all the speed I could muster from my body, I started running. By the time I got to the finishing line, I was slightly surprised not to see anyone beside me. I looked behind me and I saw them still running. All the spectators bursted into an uproar
Philip and Mohammed got to the finishing line at the same time but Philip used his head to his advantage as he propelled it forward first.
” that was extraordinarily great ” the lady among the two assistants taking record accoladed me as we approached her to get our names down.
” thank you ” I said smiling.
” your name ” she asked.
” Benjamin Salako ” I replied her.
Mohammed didn’t hide his dissatisfaction on taking the third position as he stormed out of sight angrily when his name was recorded.
” what else are you not good at ” Philip asked me as we started heading towards the pitch.
” being emir ” I replied smiling.
” you’re right, because no one can be more of an emir than me ” he said smiling.
” do you see the look in Mohammed’s eye, he looked like a clown who lost his equipments for performing cheap tricks ” Philip said smiling as he tried to mimic Mohammed’s facial expression .
” Benjamin ” I suddenly heard my name called. I turned and it was the coach.
” see you later ” I said to Philip as he head to the pitch to meet our classmates who had gathered there with Gina while I returned to the coach.
Her assistant was the one marching the junior girls to the starting lane.
” that was a great performance you pulled there and I must commend, you’re very fast ” she complemented me.
” thank you ma ” I appreciated her.
” have you been running before maybe in your former school ” she asked me
” no ” I replied her.
” ever been to any competition before ” she asked.
” no ” I replied her.
” wow,then your former school must be filled with many Usain Bolt not to have taken you to any competition ” she said with a surprised countenance.
” no ma, I’m supposed to be the fastest student there but I didn’t feel like running or participating in any competition for the school even when they tried to force me to ” I said to her.
” that’s bad but it’s good you decided to do it for us because with the speed you displayed, it’s sure that we’re winning at least a gold medal from track ” she said with a smile which I haven’t seen on her face since I saw her as she is been in action mode from the moment I saw her.
” and I’m pleased to tell you that you’ve not displayed all the speed you’ve got because you’re yet to be groomed into an athlete and when I’m done with you, you’ll have a name behind running ” she added losing the smile.
” what’s with every coach in the school with grooming ” I said in my mind. What they don’t know is that my talent is a raw one, right from the street and doesn’t need any grooming, all I need to do is to continue doing it and I’ll be best in it.
“And if you’re lucky, you might represent Nigeria in Olympic ” she said as she recovered her smile.
” I hope so ” I said also smiling.
” I’ll draft out a time when I’ll be training all of you that’s representing the school for the competition, I hope to see more of you ” she said before she finally let me go and coincidentally, it was time for the senior girls to run. I stood there to watch the race before joining Philip and the others.
The coach withdrew her mantle from the assistant as she made the call.
Like Philip told me, Happy won the race with spacious margin.
” flash ” they all started hailing me as I got to where they were all standing.
” you’re tricky you know ” Gina said smiling.
” I told ya’ll that the time for ss2c to dominate the school in every aspect will soon arrive and now we’ve arrived at that moment with the arrival of Ben ” Philip said laughing.
” I’m pained that we could have lose him to another class because of that test, I would have gone to beg him to rejoin our class if he had failed it ” Philip still laughing.
” what about football ” Oscar asked.” since Azeez had left us, we don’t even have a representative from our class in the team” Oscar added.
” fear no more my subjects, the gods of our class had seen all this and that’s why they brought Ben to us because he said he also know how to play football too ” Philip replied like a priest addressing the folks of a village.
” this f—–g calls for celebration, maybe we should organize another party ” James said, the speed at which my neck tilted towards his direction was more than the pace of a rocket.
” no party ” I said aloud and everyone bursted into laughter as they might have known the reason for my objection.
” since he said there’s not going to be a party, then will ya’ll permit me to do this ” Gina said grinning weirdly as she stood in front of me and before I knew what she was up to, she goes on her toes and kissed me, tho not for long and there wasn’t a mouth to mouth exposure, just a lip on lip kiss.
” what’s that for ” I asked looking confused.
” to tell you that she’s crushing on you now because you did something that she love ” Philip replied me.
” ya’ll sick ” I said humorously, smiling as I turned to take my leave and saw Happy standing behind me as she stared at me with a blank expression.
But why do I feel like a lover that was caught cheating all of a sudden as I stared at her
” weldone Okagbare junior ” coach hailed me in her habitual manner as I head to the pitch, the usual spot of ss2c to watch the race instead of going to the spectators stand which can accommodate over one thousand people.
It would have been better if I hadn’t gone because my feelings was trampled on again as Gina revealed she was crushing on Ben.
Tho Ben took it as a joke but I knew Gina to believe that it was more than a joke. That was the same way she started dating Azeez.
Ben turned and saw me staring at him, he kinda looked shocked but he swiftly braced himself and passed beside me without uttering a word.
Right at that moment, I made my decision. If I want to live long, then it’s a must I drop all the feelings I had inhabited into my heart for Ben. He isn’t worth it again as he seemed to be the type of guy that girls get easily attracted to. He’s even got something Gina like so much which is speed.
Gina won’t stop till she have him and I’m sure she’s gonna do that at the end except if Azeezah resurface, and I’ve got the least chance of having him since he wouldn’t even look at my face because of the union of our parents.
Readied to call a spade a spade, I decided it was the best option to have Ben avoiding me and I was also ready to assist him by avoiding him too, that should work well for me to lose my interest in him, maybe accepting Philip’s proposal might also be the right step in doing that.
There isn’t much different between the two of them, both are handsome, tall, lively and good at sport and I’m also sure Philip is more smarter. So I think it’s time I give him a chance in my heart and have him kick out Ben’s fragment inhabiting it. If I can stop on my childhood crushing on Ben and channel everything to Philip , then Ben will be nothing more than a brother which he’s desiring to be seen as.
But is all this even possible, someone I wouldn’t stop loving even after been separated for such a long time. But time will tell.
“I’ve got something to tell you ” I said to Philip as I dragged him out of the multitude.