For the Dawn To Twilight Trio Challenge (06-08).
6 am. 46 words.
My vision flickers.
“A few more minutes,” announces Coach Matingu.
Beside me, Ronnie confirms that our training grounds for the coming competitions are at least 45 minutes away. Coach must be bored, I suppose. We drive and on arrival, unload our gear.
7 am. 155 words.
Achievers High are our hosts for the games—there will be rugby, volleyball, tennis, and hockey, among more. Our Brothers United is set to participate in athletics and soccer.
The morning cold digs through my kits, mushrooming undressed parts with goosebumps. Both our teams gather for a warm-up, fellow runners-Ronnie, Michael, and Victor-to my either side. Coach Matingu moves from end to end of the pitch, blasting air through his whistle, chanting. We work our muscles, gather gas, and psych each other.
Coach sounds a call and we all gather around him.
“Okay, boys. The moment we came for. Breaths away, cuddled in the wrong hands, is a BU trophy. Your task for the next hour is to dream her back to us. I want you to imagine not your words but your efforts for her. She is yours. I want you to covet an affair with victory and boys, do not return without her!”
8 am. 329 words.
We arrive at the grounds armed for glory.
Achievers High boasts 54 acres of palatial school farm, half of which forms a stadium. We drive through the manned gates, coming across fellow gladiators dressed for the coming onslaught. We drive through lofty constructions—laboratories on top of each other, halls of residence that look like flats, adjoined dining halls, a massive stand-alone library, and deluxe staff quarters.
We feed our eyes—survivors; students of Achievers High live. Nevertheless, what we are here for leaves little room for intimidation.
The stadium is mighty. Spectators are already trickling in and filling empty seats. At least three buses are parked ahead of us. We soon hop out, our bags slung, our kits trembling and our feet hard. Coach Matingu leads us to two benches, enough to comfortably seat a soccer team. We let the boys have them as we slump on the earth, inches off.
“Remember boys, teamwork is a BU DNA—we are nothing without it,” reminds Coach, “you see her? Our girl—she is there, waiting, watching. They left her in the cold, it appears; so, she needs boys who can prove their manhood. Are you going to run the other way? Bernard?”
I vigorously shake my head.
“What does that mean!” Yells coach.
“No, sir! She is ours.”
“That-is-correct! Nobody else can have her, even when they think they do. Would you let those dirty boys sleep with her one more night?”
“No sir!” Comes the chorused response, mixed up with, “No coach!”
“Good. Now go out there today and bring home our victory!”
The first matches-soccer, volleyball, and handball-are set to kick off at 9. I will not be on toes until 10—soccer’s second half will be kicking off too. The huge clock reads 08.52. Michael, Ronnie, Victor, and I settle on the now-empty benches. The stadium is filling up with life. My bladder is full. I cannot miss kick-off. I dash to the lavatories and load-off.
See you tomorrow for a continuation to this and more one-liners!
Photo by Sandro Schuh on Unsplash
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