BY SUSAN McCRAE
Copyright is held by the author.
IT WAS OUR DAY for the annual fitness BEEP test, which I hated. I’d much rather be playing hockey with the Halton Hurricanes, my triple AAA team, but my new Grade 5 teacher Mrs. Bannergee didn’t give us an option — we had to do it.
You see the way it works is, you walk or run between pylons, like the big orange and black cones you see on the street. There’s one at each end of the gym, and you go from one to the other as many times as you can. Each time there’s a beep and it gets faster. You have to get to the other pylon before the next beep. If you don’t, you’re done.
My friend Paul told me he’d just scored 14 on the test by running the gym 140 times! Now, Paul was my hockey teammate, my buddy, and we both tried to be the fastest and best. Although to be honest, he was a better hockey player than me. I wanted to beat him sooo badly.
I got from one pylon to the other 131 times when my classmates started chanting, “Go! Go! Go!”
Seeing my hot red face, pouring sweat, Mrs. Bannergee said, as I blew by,
“I think you should stop now.”
What she couldn’t see was my stomach sending nasty signals too. Shaking my head I kept going, faster each time to get to the next pylon before that beep. I was pretty well maxed out with 136 trips. But I was determined; I couldn’t quit and turned again.
Half way to the next pylon, I upchucked. Vomit sprayed out everywhere. But I splashed right through the nastiness. It covered me head to toe. Mrs. Bannergee hollered as she caught up to me, “Julian STOP!”
Since I was still breathing, still standing and not on the floor, I was headed to the principal’s office as soon as I caught my breath.
I did the best clean up I could and was getting weird looks as I stomped and muttered down the hall. All I could think of was that my Dad was going to be so pissed when they called him. And I hadn’t even beaten Paul to make up for the mess I made.
Mrs. Bannergee was shocked when she came in, “Julian, this wasn’t a competition you know; you only had to do your best.”
I was disgusted with myself. My head hung low. I forced it up from between my stinking, slime-covered arms; sat up straight as I could.
I looked at my teacher square in the eye. “You’re new here,” I said, “and you don’t know me that well yet, Ma’am. Next year you might want to bring a bucket.”