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.