Home Articles School Days Elephants and Relay Races
Elephants and Relay Races Print E-mail
Written by Linda Dore Hayes   
Saturday, 14 March 2009 05:00

I went to Kitwe Primary School and it was a time of my youth that was full of all sorts of memories. I seem to remember on Sports Day that we were given glucose right before we raced if we were competing against another school, but this story is about a funny experience that my dad had while he was watching me run the anchor leg of a relay race.

There were four different sports houses at school - Luapula (red), Itawa (blue), Malima (yellow) and Kasonga (green). I was in Kasonga and especially enjoyed the track events. I was somewhat more developed than some of the girls my age when I was 12. I was also very athletic as a young girl and at that age girls tend to be taller than boys for a short time period. The truth is that I could run the pants off most boys at Kitwe Primary School - something I never quite grew out of as I got to be a teenager... WOT?@*!! Wink

On a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon, we were down to the last girls' race for the day - the relay. I usually ran the anchor leg of the relay and if any of you have been in that spot on a team, you know the feeling of waiting for an eternity while the third leg runner is trying to get to you, and you see the other runners taking off ahead of you already. I was willing that poor girl to go faster as I knew I was behind the other three girls already.

Remember how the proud parents would line up, 10 deep behind the ropes along the last part of the running track and cheer their heads off for their own child? My dad was a little, squatty English man, all of 1.57 meters tall (5ft 2in to those who do not use metric). There he was, pressed up against the ropes, shouting his head off for me. Right next to him, and towering above him, was this 1.93 meter (6ft 4in) Afrikaner, whose daughter was on another team and who had taken off ahead of me with the other girls.

My dad liked to tell the story like this and it became a family favourite. I quickly gained on 2 of the 3 other girls ahead of me, and caught up with the front runner, just as we coincidentally were level with the two fathers. As I edged ahead, the Afrikaner looks down at my cheering dad and says, "Yirrah man, what a bleddy great big elephant that girl is!" My dad rose to his full stature and retorted back, "Hey, I'll have you know that's my Linda you're insulting!!" The Afrikaner looked down the track again, scratched his head and replied, "Ag, sistog man, but she's got a lekker stride, though..."

I laughed my head off when my dad told me that later. I loved that story and I miss my dear little dad....