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November 16, 2000
I'm my own worst enemy. We did a warm-up jog for volleyball and I lapped everyone on a 3/4 mile track twice in the run. I don't like to draw attention to myself. School was pressure enough, but I wasn't going to forego a workout just to blend in. After that I was pressured to sign up for the 4-man relay and the mile run for the big event--NCO Academy Sports Day. All ten NCO Academy Flights would compete in sporting events for the title of Sports Day Champions(pictures courtesy of Tyndall Air Force Base NCO Academy Staff).
Just days before Sports Day, in a game of basketball, a large classmate came down on my foot, messing it up and two days later, in volleyball I landed square on my heel, sending pain up my leg. Arghhh...I sat out on training the next week to be sure my ankle was healed for Sports Day. I'd been wearing four pair of socks for three days to heal it. As I watched my mates play kick-ball, Ronald, a classmate, hurt his ankle. He was on our relay team but was out, which put more pressure on me because we'd lost one of our strong runners.
On Sports Day I was so nervous I was like a dog in heat. I didn't hump anything but I was pacing, babbling, swinging my arms, trying to stay warm. I borrowed James's hat to keep my hair down. He'd volunteered to fill in for Ronald. He was my friend but didn't look like much of a runner.
Rick was our lead runner, Erin second, James third, and me the last. Rick started us off--ran the first 402 meters so hard he had to go lie down because he thought he was having a heart-attack. Erin was impressive. She passed two guys and handed off to James in fourth place. James passed another runner and put his heart into it and did a very impressive run. All the while I was running back and forth, cheering my people and then we came to the last leg. The two lead runners handed off to their men and all I saw were streaks of light out of the corner of my eye. James (background in maroon sweatshirt) was still coming...coming...coming...
I still had to run the mile. I didn't want to burn out and I was the only one doing the two back-to-back. For 15 minutes I ran around looking for water but couldn't find any. I tasted blood. I found a sink and splashed some water in my mouth. My inner thighs were very tight. I whimpered like a sick dog.
I walked over to see how our volleyball team was doing just as Ken got kneed in the head and knocked unconscious. We laid him on the court and tried to wake him. I leaned him on me as we waited for the ambulance. (see people in background on volleyball court)
Ken was hauled away as Ronald came limping across the field saying they needed someone to replace Ken in the water balloon toss. I told him I couldn't catch to save my life (small hands), don't toss off very well, but I went anyway. We were eliminated in the first round. I hate to say I told you so but…itys...
I'd signed up for it at the last minute after Ronald got hurt. It was our big finish. There were six of us. Erin went before I did and it was funny because after I spun the bat I started running, weaving because I was so dizzy, trying to find my teammates and there was Erin kneeling with her arms open screaming,"COME TO MAMA!!!" She's funny and she left a big target to aim for. I ran towards her and just as I started weaving again I took a dive into her. We got 2nd. Then we were killed in the tug-o-war.
After school we piled into four cars and went to the base hospital to find Ken, Mr. Head Trauma. They said he'd gone downtown, so we all drove downtown and found him in the emergency room. He was so surprised we all came to see him, and we gave him the first T-shirt we won that day. We were all a little goofy and for a while I thought they were going to throw us out, that group of middle-aged military professionals who were unable to be let out in public. You'd think we won the Olympics, the way we were carry on. After the doctor released him we went to Hooters (I didn't want to but we were having
Our group had a lot of character. Later in the week we gave speeches and our class leader, Steve, told us how he called his son the night after we won Sports Day. He didn't know anyone two weeks ago but now he said there was something cool in everyone. Wow...I just know he was talking about me and didn't want to show up everyone else.