The snow is falling heavily – an indication that it is time to say good-bye to fall. I have many memories associated with fall. I have many memories associated with the other seasons too, but there is something special about fall. Fall was the only season during which I voluntarily, without having been asked, participated in a sport.
People who know me know that I am not an athletic person. I have never been considered particularly good at any sport, but I’m relatively tall, so I managed to get by in phys ed. However, it is certain that for the past 14 years, I have always been a terrible runner. In fact, I specifically remember hating recesses in kindergarten because we would always play tag, and I was “it” for a good 2 months because I couldn’t tag anyone.
But my friends, being the athletic people they were, signed up for cross-country, and I certainly didn’t want to be alone at lunch. So, 11 year old me jogged out of the gym for the first time. The first year, we had to run what I believe was 2km, and I remember half-wanting to quit during every practice. Even though the field looked mostly flat, each slightly-protruding clump of grass and 5-degree slope felt like torture. I was the slowest grade 5 runner– in fact, every single practice resembled a herd of gazelles sprinting away at the front, followed by me, a bipedal sloth. The worst thing was that we’d be ordered to run around the entire school, meaning that the bunches of people with their noses pressed up against the window could all see me struggling, looking like I was going to drown in sweat or collapse on the floor at any moment, probably running slower than I could walk. That year, I placed 84th.
I can’t say I ever improved much in terms of ranking, so it’s not like I did cross country because I had a chance of doing well. Every once in a while, I would ask myself why I went back to the gym door every year to write my name on the sign up sheet. Of course, there was peer pressure, but I suppose that for a couple months every year, I could confidently say that I was not entirely a couch potato.
Farewell then, I suppose, to struggling to breathe in the sweltering Canadian heat. I will not miss you. Winter is coming, and I cannot wait for the snow to give me an excuse to stay inside and read, curled up in a cozy corner, and not physically exert myself.
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