Last year at the sports day finale Dominique was inconsolable. In all her 5 years in the school, her house had never won. She was sobbing loudly. Fifi’s house had won but rather than celebrating she was reduced to consoling her older sister. No comforting words seemed to be working though – until Fifi had a brilliant idea. She told Dominique that since Imani was joining the school next year, she would be in Dominique’s house and they would win. Dominique was instantly cheered up. Even when I provided the proviso that there was no guarantee that Imani would end up in the same house as Dominique.
You see earlier that term, Imani had joined a sprinting competition between the boys in Dominique’s class. Imani is a full 5 years younger than the said boys, but she outsprinted them with ease. But it was not just getting there first; I noted her technique and commitment. The knees rose high with every stride, the arms swinging through the stride and the focus on her face. I knew then that she was a born sprinter.
As fate would have it, Imani joined and was assigned the same house as Dominique. When sports day came round, Imani’s race was a day earlier. It was a relay and she was running the last leg. By the time of the switch over her team was well ahead, but she took off without the baton. 10 yards in and a teacher reminder her she had to go back. She was now fully 20 yards behind. But then she turned on the turbo and sped past the lead girl with 10 yards to go. It was EPIC!
The next day Dominique was in the tag of war. They came dead last in that event. They came dead last again when the final results were announced. Dominique was inconsolable again, but Fifi was in no mood for niceties this time (probably because her house had not worn either). She made it clear to Dominique that she cannot expect the house to win if she has not won her own event. She assured her that she had let Imani down by coming last. The sobbing stopped and was replaced by introspection.