As we waited and tried to keep ourselves anxiety free, we, the participants, did not miss the shadow of expectations looming around us. When the occasion arrived and the microphone announced our names representing our school, there was a thunderous roar across the stadium. It inspired us to do even better. Following the first couple of laps, our school slightly lagged behind. As I was in the final lap, I just prayed that the difference between our school and St Johns, our rival, should not be beyond chances of recovery.
Yet when the baton was handed over to me by Vijay for the final lap, the gap of distance was a significant one. I had to run my best if our school had to have any hopes of winning. In a few seconds I had overtaken my rival team, to the thunderous roar of the crowd. However, and though my school emerged champions, I badly hurt my knee near the finishing line. I was oblivious of my injury for the next half an hour as the celebrations erupted all around me.
Returning home, clinical investigations revealed a major fracture. X-rays were conducted and the doctor ruled out competitive athletics for me for at least a year. ‘How come I had not felt the pain?’ I had asked my doctor. ‘Because you were far too busy with your celebrations, dear boy,’ was his reply. As the coming year was my final year in school, I quietly reconciled myself to my fate that I had already run the last race of my school life. That thought did not depress me much for I had strove and always given out my hundred per cent for my house and my school.
As the thoughts of my ‘last race’ in school flashed across my mind, I got ready to cheer my school team once again for victory. Some of the participants were my old comrades. Taking their names, I lustily cheered them on to defend the prestigious school title.