There were a few reasons why I didn’t want to. I was in middle school at the time and you know how it is, you’re afraid to do something to make yourself look stupid. But the bigger reason for not playing, was the simple fact that I didn’t run. Not unless absolutely necessary.
We stood in a circular huddle outside the school, getting the rules and regulations of the game. No one seemed thrilled. The area we were stationed had a large hill that lead from the doors to a flat piece of ground, which stretched out a pretty good way. The teams were split up and one team stationed their flag at the top of the hill, while my team stationed our flag on the other end of the level ground.
For a few minutes I watched people run back and forth from both teams, trying to capture a flag. Some succeeded and some were caught. I stood there on the border of the field, convincing myself that I would have never made it in a real-life war and conquest battle.
At this point in my school life, no one expected me to participate. Not even the teacher. He did run by at one point and told me to get in the game but we both knew it wasn’t going to happen. I’d like to point out that I wasn’t the only one just standing around, there were others.
There was a guy in class that I had been crushing on for a while, I think he knew. Who knows? He was giving more effort in the game than I was, he took a few jabs at the flag; even got it once. By now he was walking around aimlessly like I was, waiting for the bell to ring. I had made a few circles around the field by this point and was just ready to go to the next class. I found myself standing at the top of the hill a few feet away from the other team’s flag. There were three boys guarding it. They stood there planning their next plan of action, my team kept swooping in to try to grab their flag.
I watched two or three missed attempts; all three boys were guarding the flag like their life depended on it. At one point, one of them looked over at me. I’m sure my facial expression said it all, they had nothing to worry about from me; I wasn’t going for it. My reputation preceded me, he turned away from me to talk to the other two. Everyone had pretty much given up at this point, my team was tired and huddled around our flag, no one was running back up that hill. The other team stood talking to each other. We still had fifteen minutes before the bell rang.
After a minute, all three boys walked away from the flag to talk to someone else. That was stupid, I thought, someone could grab it. I looked down towards my team to see a few of them staring up at me. I turned away from them, the doors were just a few steps away, I could just wait there until the bell rang. I was three steps in, when this bright idea struck me.
I was always known as the girl who didn’t participate, no one expected anything great out of me athletically. If there was ever a chance for me to do something ‘sports’ related and WIN, this would be the time. My teams paying attention, the other is distracted, all I would have to do is make it down the hill with the flag and my team would cover me to the line. PLUS my crush was standing there watching me, how cool would I look if I actually got the flag across the line? I could grab that flag and get down the hill before they could get to me. Probably. What could go wrong?
You’re smiling right now aren’t you? Well, buckle up, you know it’s coming.
Going against my better judgement, I swirled around and snatched the flag out of the ground. The opposite team watched while I jerked it and the grass out of the ground, they were so stunned at what I was attempting, they didn’t move at first. I was three or four steps into my sprint down the hill when I heard someone shout, “Get her.”
Now that’s motivation isn’t it? I looked up, hoping that someone from my team noticed what I had done. I wasn’t disappointed, they had all noticed. They all stood locked in their positions; bewilderment was plastered across every face at what they were witnessing. This included my crush. I distinctly remember his jaw dropping. What can I say? When I shock em, I go all out.
I appreciated the undivided attention everyone was now offering; however, I was only halfway down the hill and those boys were breathing down my neck. A little help here please? All at once, my team snapped out of their dazed confusion and a few of them sprinted towards me. Those people made it onto my Christmas card list. A few of them whizzed by me in the opposite direction, trying to hold the others off so I could reach the line. One of them yelled, “Go, go, go.”
Look, I’m doing what I can here, okay. Don’t rush me. Doesn’t help.
My crush waited until I ran past him before he started running with me.
“Keep going.” He yelled.
Working on it, bud.
To all our astonishment, I made it past the line. I had gotten the ENEMIES flag across the line and scored a point.
I would have been happy to end that story right there. I scored a point and went to class.
No sooner than I stepped over the line, my foot snagged something. I not only tripped, I BOUNCED off the ground. I felt like I was sliding into home base, grass and dirt flew into the air on impact. I fell face first into the ground. So, to go along with my now stained shirt and pants, I also had a mouth full of dirt and grass. A little debris in my eyes as well. Sexy, I know. When I shine, I go big or go home.
My crush, bless his heart, was just as embarrassed as I was.
“Are you okay,” he sounded mortified.
He pulled me up to standing position, where I continued to spit out grass and dirt. I nodded towards him as I tossed the flag to the ground.
Needless to say—we never dated. Life’s hard. Apparently so is running.