Sports brings us together
Sports are more than competitions. To me, they mean growth under the care of others. I learned this the hard way.
I used to be very shy and often felt lonely. Although I did well in all the academic subjects, I was afraid of physical education. My classmates often laughed at me.
“Look at that girl,” they said. “Her feet don’t leave the ground when she runs!”
Their words embarrassed me. Moreover, whenever the teacher organized some competitive games, no one in the class liked to have me as their partner or team member. As a result, I often ended up looking at others enjoy their games.
Things would go on like that if not for a sports meet in my high school. By mistake, my name was put on the list of those who would compete in the women’s 1500 meters race. By the time people found the mistake, it was too late to change.
My desk-mate was a natural athlete. She said to me, “I couldn’t run that race in your place, because I’ve signed up for three items already.” Other athletic girls of the class said the same.
I was utterly dumbfounded. 1500 meters! Running against the best runners from other classes! And in front of students of the entire school! It would be the worst nightmare I’d ever have!
“You still have time to catch up because there is still one month before the sports meet,” they all said this to me, including my teacher.
My desk-mate patted me on the shoulder, “Cool! You will run for our class! And we will do training together.” Yes, this is not just for myself, but for my class too, I said to myself. But still, 1500 meters to me was like Mount Everest to a beginning climber. I had no idea even how to start my preparation.
Fortunately, my desk-mate gave me a hand. Every afternoon after class, several of us ran together. When the fear of being laughed at struck me, I saw others running right beside me. They gave me strengths. While we were running, some others would stand by the tracks cheering for us.
One month certainly couldn’t make me a good runner. But when I was standing behind the start line, I no longer felt lonely or afraid. I saw my classmates standing by the tracks waving at me as if about to run beside me.
With the shot of the starting gun, I dashed out and ran as fast as I could, as if it were a 200-meter race. Soon I was out of breath and slowed down. Other runners passed me one by one, and gradually I had no idea how many of them were still behind me. My legs were getting heavier and heavier, and I might fall down at any moment. However, I suddenly heard my classmates chanting my name. My desk-mate even ran along the tracks beside me and cheered for me at the same time, just like the month-long training we did together.
As expected, I was almost the last to cross the finish line. Immediately, my classmates held my arms and urged me to walk on my feet and not to sit down. I was surrounded, with all kinds of drinks handed to me. I felt a kind of warmth I had never felt before. Even though I was almost the last to finish the race, I was full of confidence that I would improve in the future.
That sports meet was an unforgettable experience. The memory of my classmates cheering for me, holding my arms and handing me drinks stays fresh on my mind. Sports are no longer about winning or losing. They give me a lot of confidence, both confidence in my fellow students and confidence in my own potential. I am no longer lonely, no longer afraid. Sports have brought me close to my classmates and helped us grow together.
Now, I participate in the sports meet every year. Even if I am not competing, I would help my classmates with their practice, just like the way my desk-mate and others ran with me.