1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


Cold Reality
Rick Hughes 09

What are my chances, even though it is very cold, spring is coming, can I beat Alex McLaughlin in our race on labor day. So far he has beaten me every year. Why don't I concede? Because I know I can beat him. Its going to take intense training, weight must be lost, especially around my gut. My greatest weakness is gluttony. Its time to satisfy my great love for food and still get slim and fighting mad. Al is a strong runner, he has great endurance, concentration ,and a savage will to beat me. As I talk to Al he tells me how he just can't run as he use to, how he is slowing down, how he gets tired, all of this seems to happen except on the one and only day of the year I compete against him. Then he is off like a streak, looking like an Olympic runner. Still deep within me I know I can beat him. If I do I am going to tell him, gee, I am worn out, I can barely walk, let me lean against you. If on the other hand he beats me I am going to coldly say, lets sprint back to the hotel.

Addendum: The last time I ran against Alex McLaughlin a very discouraging event happened which I never revealed until now . The night before the race Alex and i went to a wonderful bar where they also serve food and we had a great time. The next morning i awoke about 4 o'clock had a few coffees and walked over to the start of the race. I usually get there before al does and just kind of look around to see if i might know anybody. A few times i have seen someone I might have known in my previous life. Anyway, eventually Al comes and he talks to many people and introduces me to them and we all talk, everyone says how rough the race will be and joke about their deficiencies. Finally after a prayer, the pledge, and singing the star spangled banner, we line up. I always tell Al with great bravado, how I will crush, smash, destroy him, he agrees and says he will crawl over the line. The gun is pointed, everyone is  crouched, the bang comes, I take off like a bat from another planet. Moving with all vigor possible I am rolling. The first indication I cannot keep it up all the way is a pebble in my shoe, it hurts, I press on, it still hurts, I cannot stop, I just keep going, I am starting to hallucinate, its my belief Al or someone has increased the length of the race, AL PROBABLY put that pebble so it would get in my shoe, the running is now sheer agony, sweet is in my eyes, there he is, my nemesis, I suddenly see him that living devil, he is quite far ahead of me, now my gut aches, my chest is heaving, the pain in my right foot is searing, the pain everywhere is searing, something is really slowing me down. Suddenly after running up a hill for it seems like hours I bust on to the football field. I CAN SEE THE END RUNNING like a banche toward that line. I pass 2 more and someone hands me a number its over, I feel my pain. ACTUALLY THERE WAS NO PEBBLE ,THE REST IS ALL REAL BEAT ME FAIR AND SQUIRE, HE DID NOT EVEN INCREASE THE LENGTH OF THE RACE, MY GREAT CRY IS WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR..