And The Gun Sounded This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   It was a cold rainy Saturday morning, a typical day for a track meet. The stands were full of people with blankets and umbrellas. Athletes were standing everywhere, with their coaches running after them. Looking more closely, you could see her. There she was, asleep on the bleachers, tired from the night before. She was bundled up in many layers of clothes, but the cold still found its way through. Her team was there to cheer her on. She was one of the few on the team who had qualified for this meet. Her event, the 200-meter dash, was sneaking up on her and her coach and her father wanted her to start warming up.

She was up and jogging around, away, far away from the others. She had to loosen up, you know. This was her best event, you see. She was expected to do well, you understand (Yea, yea, yea). Back in her bed is where she would rather be. Not in the mood to run, she had no desire for it either. However, there was her coach and her father keeping her underway, and well underway she was. She was busy with her drills, building her speed into her strides, and practicing her starts. Although she was on the opposite side of the track, she could still feel the staring eyes of her coach and her father. She just wanted to run it and get it over with. She didn't care; it was just a race. It was no big deal. Her times never showed improvement. Why should this time be any different? All the effort, the time and the practice she put in each day to be the best - why didn't it ever show? Lane assignments were given and she placed her starting blocks in the appropriate lane. Her heart was racing now. Why, though, why was she nervous?

"Runners, to your mark!"

She stretched her legs out in the bitter cold. Her knee settled deep into a puddle. Her hands rested exactly before the line.

"Set!"

Her body rose. A cold chill ran through her body in the split second she was in the air.

And the gun sounded ... She blasted out of the blocks. Her arms drove her as her legs took quick little steps as she straightened up. Her lean was helpful into the turn. She ran harder, faster with such a spontaneous desire she had never felt before. Straightening out, she would show the crowd which one to keep their eyes on. Perfect, every step was beautiful in form, she ran the whole way to the finish and beyond. Pushing her way through at the exact moment the clocks stopped. She finished first, never tired. The race was done, it was over in 26.4 seconds. Never before had she performed in under 27 seconds. The results were made known to everyone and her team had quite a reaction. They rushed to her and crowded around her. The excitement kicked in and her smile was wider than the track. She looked up and there was her coach, proud, ever so proud of his athlete. Next to him, her father, proud, ever so proud of his daughter. They walked by an athlete sleeping on the bleachers. She rolled her eyes in disgust. How can anyone be so rude as to not be proud and excited to run in this meet? l


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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