by Kevin Mercurio
I was invincible.
I had just finished basketball practice and was on my way to the varsity soccer match against our arch rivals, the Mepean Mountaineers. Wednesdays were volleyball and hockey. Thursdays were tennis and baseball. Fridays were all for football. I couldn’t get enough.
I hadn’t realized that I had wandered on to the track field, until I was bumped by one of the athletes during their practice.
“Watch it, kid.”
The athlete continued their stride, who seemed like they were running 100m lines. Back and forth the athlete went; from the beginning of one corner of the track, down to the next corner. I was mesmerized. Up close, the form of sprinting is, at its core, pulchritudinous. The athlete almost looked like a living vector diagram, calculating angles and forces with every movement. The skill wasn’t in the ability to score like in most sports, but the technique.
I had been staring at the athlete for some time, and it wasn’t until 10 minutes went by that the athlete grew aware.
“Would you like to try?”
I joined the athlete at one of the track field corners and stood adjacent. The athlete suggested to watch first before making my first attempt. In the flash of a few seconds, the athlete had bolted down the track with such speed and finesse that I was frozen in awe. There was absolutely no way that someone could have run a line like that.
“You’re up.” The athlete shouted from down the field.
I closed my eyes and began mimicking what I had witnessed. My start consisted of shaping my legs into right and obtuse angles with an explosive push using both legs. My arms swung opposite to my legs creating perfect momentum. My forward lean began to decrease ever so slightly. When I reached the end of the line, the athlete was smiling.
I joined the athlete, sprinting 100m lines for what seemed like hours. At first, I could feel the tension in my muscles. My lungs were almost collapsing with the excessive amounts of pressure and work. My face became numb with the lack of oxygen being utilized for energy.
It was then that I was hit with a state of awareness that I had never experienced. About an hour in, I felt zero sensation. I could see myself surpassing the athlete in each back and forth line almost effortlessly. Endorphins flooded my system to the point where I could not even consciously interpret signals produced by my fundamental senses. I was breaking the First Law of Thermodynamics.
I woke up on the side of the track field, and looked on as the athlete continued to sprint lines as if nothing had happened.
“Bite off more than you can chew and then chew like hell.”
– Peter Brock