Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (02/28/08)
- TITLE: Hank and the Scrawnies
By Christopher Dawson
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“Hey worm! Glad you came out to watch me practice. You’re gonna see me smoke these guys here in the 800 in just a minute.” The shover motioned to a small group of scrawny looking boys in too-short gym shorts and too-tight white T-shirts.
“Hank’s the name. Remember it. You’re gonna be seeing it in the headlines of the paper a lot during track season. Ha! Look at you guys. Why do you even bother to show up? You got a death wish or something? Here comes coach. Better get a tight grip on your shorts or they’ll blow off when I pass you by!”
The coach stepped to the side of the track holding a whistle close to his mouth.
“Everyone trying out for the 800 meter run, please get in a lane.”
Hank and the scrawny crew spread out across the track.
“Okay. Is that everyone?”
“No sir. I’d like to try too.” The red-haired boy picked himself up off the track and brushed the dust and gravel from his skinned elbows.
“You want your shorts blown off too? Jump in with the rest of the losers Carrot Top!”
The red-haired boy didn’t say a word. He stepped into the far lane, three lanes removed from the nearest boy. He was a new kid. He didn’t know track tryouts were that day until he heard the announcement in his final period. He was dressed in a button-down shirt, long jeans and slick-soled tennis shoes. He did not look like an athlete and he did not exactly exude confidence.
As soon he was in place the coach began to yell. “On your marks, get set, go!”
Just as he’d scripted, Hank sprang out in front with a long stride and fierce pace. The red-haired boy and the rest of the scrawny crew were well back after the first quarter. They couldn’t see the look on Hank’s face. It was strained, like he was trying to twist the lid off of a jar that was stuck tight. His light steps began to thud on the track as he rounded the second turn. The red-haired boy began to pull away from the scrawny crew just slightly and gained three full strides back from Hank.
The lid wasn’t coming off. Hank was spent by the time he rounded the third turn.
The red-haired boy’s face was clean-lined and unstrained. He passed Hank three steps from the finish line. Hank fell to the ground from exhaustion, skinning his elbows badly as he did.
“Hey red-head, what’s your name?”
“Bobby, you’re the new kid aren’t you?”
“Come back tomorrow, same time, and we’ll get you fitted with your uniform. You made the team. The rest of you guys need to check in to general P.E. tomorrow. You can tryout again next season.”
Hank stood up, dusted off his elbows and walked quietly away with the rest of the scrawny crew.
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