The flashbacks have been triggered by the sight of uniforms and the sound of gunfire. They have me feeling this sense of nervous anticipation. Of being on edge - knowing that it's time to give it my all.
No, I've never been part of the armed forces. Or been in a military action. Although I was in Los Angeles when it was under martial law after the Rodney King verdict and the subsequent rioting.
The uniforms I'm talking about are more the sports kind. And the guns are starter's pistols. It's athletic season and the flashbacks I'm having were of my last year of high school and the pinnacle of my spectacular but brief athletics career.
I wasn't always a runner. Back at high school I was a thrower. Specifically a discus thrower. It was something that I'd been quite good at right from the start. In year 8 I'd come second at zones and from then on no one beat me. But in my last year of high school something had clicked and I started throwing even better and by the time the zone championships came around there was no one that could come within metres of me. I knew I had it in the bag and that zones were only a formality to getting into the state championships.
The day of zones came and I turned up at the venue to find that the event was manned by some very cocky boys from a rival school. They were really good throwers and had been roped into helping by a teacher. And they were a little scathing about having to help out at a girl's event. Because girl throwers were usually just fat girls who couldn't throw very far. I was a bit porkier then but I could throw a long way and I certainly didn't like the patronising way that they were acting. I specifically didn't like the way that they'd laugh whenever a girl threw badly - which was most of the time.
It finally got to be my turn to throw and they were only standing about 15 metres away from the circle. I'd thrown over 37m in a practice comp so I indicated that they should move back a bit. They looked at each other with sneering disbelief and a bit of eye-rolling and stepped back a couple of metres.
Yep, they were jerks but I didn't really want to kill either of them so I asked them to move further back. Again with the sneering disbelief, eye-rolling and the couple of steps back. Still way too close for my liking.
These days I'm a lot less shy than I was back then. These days I would have told them to get out of the way in no uncertain terms. Back then I just was too quiet to ever be so bold. And I kind of wanted to put them in their places so I decided that I'd just have to demonstrate how far they needed to get back. I wound up, spun across the circle and let it fly.
You've never seen two cocky teenagers run so fast. Those sneers had disappeared in the urgency of running for their lives. And for my following throws they stepped back respectfully to an appropriate distance.
It was one of my finest athletic achievements. And one of my fondest memories.
|Third in the State Open Championships the following year.|