Daddy's runner

January 4, 2009
By Deshawn Winslow, Naperville, IL

I run for my father. I run for myself. I run to be the best. My father expects it out of me. I am a track star at Duluth High School in Georgia. My father has had me on a strict diet for years. No pop or junk food that sort of stuff. My father also says I should stay out of a relationship while we are in the track season. This is hard to do, but I respect my father’s wishes because I respect the man he is. My father has raised me and trained me to be the athlete that I am. During sectionals in 1998 I ran the 400meter. The top four runners qualified for the state championship. I was projected to win. I came fast like a bullet out of a gun. This race was unlike any other when I made the first turn I was in dead last. After this turn I felt enormous pressure to live up to my father expectations. I worked until one by one I only had one man to beat. I clawed and strained to catch him. Down the final stretch I was within striking distance. I gave every bit of effort I could but it was not enough. Finishing in second place was a great accomplishment for me. I was so proud of myself. I mean I qualified for state. I noticed one person wasn’t so happy. Yes as you can guess my darling father was livid. He tells me second place isn’t something to cheer about. It’s the first looser. This took all the wind out of my balloon. I was doing track for my father and to know my best wasn’t good enough to win his approval. He called me a looser and a monumental failure. He said my performance out there besmirch the family name. My father made living with him unbearable for the next two weeks before state. He made before school and after track practice. I was so tired my school work started to suffer. He keeps pushing me until my body had no more. State was on that Saturday and on the Friday prior my coach had informed me that I was ineligible for the meet the next day. My father went nuts when he heard. The things that happened after are too painful to repeat. My father and I currently don’t speak. In fact we haven’t spoken since i graduated in 98. Though my father was a terrible coach I still miss him. I’m retelling this story here to show what kind of man he was. Though sometimes he treated me bad, he gave me the work ethic needed to succeed. If only he lived to see this day. I’ve taken second place again but this time not in some silly sectionals or not even state. No I was the second fastest runner in the world. I'm going to push myself harder for next year because i can still hear my father saying silver just means first looser.

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