By Amarachi Okpunobi
As a kid, while playing with my contemporaries especially in races. Before we pick a race, the kid referee would announce, on your marks, get set, and would consciously say, quarter-to-go, he would also ask, ready?, before he would finally announce go, and all the racers will begin to run. Once I hear, quarter-to-go, my heart begins to beat faster and I begin to visualise how I would run and win the race. I would also take a look at my back, front and sides, then focus, to revitalize and regenerate a greater part of my energy and consider those I may likely over take.
Likewise, it takes a professional, athletic courage, focus and determination to start a race. In the field of competition, once he hears, on your Marks, Get Set, Ready, GO! 0r probably the whistle or the gun shot signals GO. He picks up the race and fights to finish so that others get to the target point before him. But for a fastest reach, he must have prepared himself for the race, otherwise, others overtake him. He may have trained almost all day or half a day or many hours a day, but he must train. Then when he is on the track, he tries to remember the strong faith he has in himself, those who have faith in him, their hopes he raised high and that hope keeps him going as he struggles to be his best and bring the trophy home.
I was in JSS 3 when my school, Community Secondary School Obeledu, had her Inter-house sports competition and I was in the Green House. I was taken to be good at long races, like the 1000m race. During the time for training as we patiently wait for the day, I would take the field a number of times to flex my muscles. Then I would feel that on the inter-House sports day, I would come and run round the field as usual without much stress as I would overtake most of my contemporaries. But the end wasn’t as thought as the beginning. We had students in my house who could run better than I. So, in the long run, they were chosen over me while I was left to do other sport activities if I so wished. Initially, I felt I had been thrown out of my house as the only thing I thought I knew how to do as little as it was, was taken from me.
An athlete, once he misses a day of training most times finds it had to reconcile with his body. So it was not so easy for me but I stopped running for some time and focused more on my studies. I would peep through my window as I watched regrettably, others become the Usain Bolt of my school while I stayed in the class taking perhaps rather boring classes. With time I got used to it and joined the matching squad. Amazingly, on the inter-house sports day, my house took the champion in the match past. I was happy that I was among those who brought the trophy home to their house.
Prior to that, on a fateful sunny day, during the preparations, my friend and housemate, Bruno Enwelum came to me and pleaded, “Ammy, please we don’t have a female representative for table tennis, can you bail us out?”. I couldn’t just imagine holding the racket and serving the ball as I never played before. Therein, I confessed my fears to him and other friends joined and geared me to play the ball in my court as that may even win me another credit for the house. Thereafter, he assured me that I would win if I watched and learned from others playing and that made me feel better.
On getting to the court, the fear came again after we shovelled and I was to be the first player with another house. At the first round, I defeated my opponent and at the finals I took the second runner-up. At the end, I was happy and amazed at how I could have possibly played I game that I never did before even with the ignorance of it’s rules.
Yes! It is a quarter to go in the month of December and 2018 get rolled up. Like an athlete, you must have had many things you had wanted to achieve, many trophies to bring home, many people you had wanted to help and put a smile on their face. You may have written a full page resolution in 2017 and promised yourself you would realise them. You may have even bragged to friends of skills and certificate you wished to achieve before the years runs out. But it’s already quarter to go and you you’ve looked back and felt that you have become a total failure, probably because your dreams for 2018 were not met. The truth is, something can still be done!
Instead of sitting down in that dark room mourning your failure of 2018, stand up and move outside to the light and do the little you can before the light goes off. Instead of reading that full page of resolution with regrets for wasted time and resources, quit reading it and resolve to do the least of them all and quit reading them because you can’t turn the hands of time.
I was not among the athletes on the final day of my Inter-house sports but I played the table tennis and emerged the 2nd runner-up in as much as it was my first time of using the racket.
Dear reader, you may have written those resolutions hoping that before the end of the year, you will definitely do some magic and meet them. But, life has a way of turning things around.
The clock ticks, and most times we think it’s not moving at all and we keep procrastinating our wake till we begin to run after the clock.
If you can’t make it an athlete, use the racket. At the end, you will be happy how far and how well you were able to bring the trophy home to your house. You may be regrettably watching the athletes bring back their trophies and you stick to a place feeling a failure. Remember, you must not follow the same route to get the trophy back to the house, you can always follow your own way.
It’s a quarter to go. Do something before the clock ticks again, there is still a little time. It is still a quarter, make a move before the whistle blows, GO. If you do, you will be happy that you were able to have achieved even the little you could before the year runs out.
Do have a blessed week!