The Accommodating Athlete

Image from

Image from

I arrived at the local stadium in blazing June sunshine. The afternoon of athletics was over; it was time to collect my son.

It’s an alien world to me, the concrete track, the dust, the stand packed with spectators. I am not sporty.

For me, it had been a work day; I had fidgeted restlessly in front of a computer screen whilst my son ran for his school.

Now, at going home time, I spotted him, passing the time by having play races with his friends. He stopped when he saw me and went to pick up his bag.

“So how did it go?” I asked, noting the paper number no Shrewsday has ever sported before.
Felix shrugged matter-of-factly.

“I won the cricket ball throwing” he volunteered.

I squeaked. “What, you WON? I shouted happily.”Out of all the schools in town?”
Felix stared pointedly at the pavement. “Mum!” he upbraided me. “it’s not that big a deal..”

I carried on squeaking. My son, the athlete.

Then I remembered. Felix has proved himself rather good at long distance running. In fact, at his school he has even beating teachers. “How did the 600 meters go? I asked.

“I came third.”

Third! More maternal squeakery. And then I realised Felix was still speaking.

“Early on in the race,” he was saying, “one of the other runners fell down. And everyone was running on so I stopped to help him.

“When he was ok, I ran on; but I could only get to third place by the finish line.”

Suddenly, squeaks were not enough. Have you ever been in awe of someone very young? Felix had done much more than win a race. He had shown humanity. And would I have done the same in his place?

I’m not sure.


42 thoughts on “The Accommodating Athlete

  1. That is really something to be proud of Kate – what a tremendous young man he is turning into already. Must feel extraordinary to be a mother at moments like that – really awesome! πŸ™‚

  2. Oh, what a guy, have to admit i would have run straight over the prone body of my comrade in races. I am not sporty either so actually I probably would have tripped over him!! Your son IS a winner! c

    1. Hope for generations to come, though, Weebles. We can be as cantankerous as we like in our old age and with any luck, they’ll manage to hold their patience with us.

  3. Oh my, I’m getting teary eyed just thinking about it. And he’s not even related to me! Bravo, Felix!! Kate, you must be bursting with pride!

  4. For the person who “placed first” in the race, their victory is now over, whereas the kindness your son extended is a prize that will continue to bear fruit in the life of the person he helped, his own life and all of the lives with whom you have shared this moment Kate. Well done Felix!

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