Next Season

Alex Borowicz 


© Copyright 1999 by Alex Borowicz

I am a junior in High School. Next Season is ever so slightly based on my own cross country experience. I took the atmosphere from some of the most memorable meets and put them together.

With the sky overcast and the rain drizzling down it was near perfect running weather. Footprints were indented in the mud, and people stood talking to all the runners that had finished. Umbrellas were held up, blocking the spectators from the drizzle. Everyone seemed to be moving away from the finish chute, except for five young boys. Two of them laid sprawled on the ground their imprints in the mud. The one on the left was John Ryan, a sophomore, and then only underclassman to run varsity cross country that season. His blue and white jersey and shorts were covered with the stain of mud, and his paper with his entry number written on it fluttered in the wind; being held on bye a single safety pin. His brown eyes stared into the void of clouds above him, from which the rain fell. He face had a look of blankness on it, as he ran his hand through his light brown hair. Then finally his face moved when he spoke, "Well, it just wasn't there today."

He seemed to be speaking to his friend Scott Bluesdale. Scott was pale with blonde hair and green eyes. He was tall and lanky, but handsome. He seemed to be missing his shoe on his right foot, and his sock was soaked; covered in mud as well as his uniform. He held his entry number in his left hand and his right foot running spike in his right hand. After lying a minute with silence he said, "I had it…but no, I had to go and lose my shoe, and then turn around and pick it up. It's all my fault. We could be going on," He paused for a moment to think about everything, then finished, "but we're not."

"Damn it to Hell!" Those words of anger were yelled from their coach; James Filmur. Coach F, as the called him, was a bit on the uneasy side. Life just never seemed to go straight for him at this race. Each year it was the same thing. His team came to the race with a ranking in the top twenty, but could never manage to be one of the five teams to advance out of the sectional race (the first race out of four on the way to the State Championships). Holding the team results in his hands, he held the papers up into the air and screamed out, "According to the rankings I should of won! It's just not fair!" Enraged in the moment, he tore the papers in half, and began throwing them everywhere. He grabbed lifted his leg up and grabbed his shoe; tearing it off his foot. Then he proceeded to throw it as far as he could. The shoe flew through the air, twisting and turning until finally it landed on the ground. Coach Filmur then charged at his shoe, and kicked it as hard as he could. Following it, and then stomped on it, until it was buried into the mud.

Ryan wiped the rain from his face and said, "I don't think I'm going to ride home with Coach F. Especially with him driving."

Scott seemed to be trying to get comfortable in the mud, and then he let out a sigh. "Yeah, I think I'll ride home with my parents, too. Plus, I think its illegal to drive with out shoes, and seeing the way he's acting I can just tell he's going to get pulled over. Then they'll see his bare feet and give him one hell of a ticket. Then he'll probably get in a fight with the cop and end up getting arrested. Then we'll have to call our parents, so anyhow I'll probably end up going with my parents."

"Yeah," reassured Ryan. He then switched the idea of the conversation, "I just want to know, were did we go wrong, Scott? I mean, we were ranked nineteenth, and not another single ranked team was in our sectional. It just doesn't make sense."

Scott turned his head to look at his friend Ryan. The left side of his face squished into the mud. Licking his lips, he said, "You know sometimes it isn't the skill of the team. Sometimes, no matter how good you are the skill can't make up for what the team really needs."

Ryan turned his head so he could look at Scott. "And what's that?"

Scott turned his head to look back; up into the sky. "I really don't know. I've never been part of a team that didn't have skill. I come in running Varsity as a freshman, and here I am, my senior year, finishing my season the exact same way my freshman year was finished. Don't go out like me, buddy. You'll always have next season. But me, last year was the last time I could say, 'maybe next season.' This year, I have to just let it go. Don't end your season this way."

Ryan looked turned his head back, and looked up into the void of clouds. "Yeah…next season." The wind picked up. The entry number on Ryan's jersey fluttered rapidly then ripped free of the pin, and floated off into the air. Landing on the ground, the rain fell onto it, pushing it into the ground; muddy water slowly pooled on top of the paper, covering the number.

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