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When You’re LAST

We were still in the garage when my son snapped his seat belt and threw up his hands.  “I’m first!” he shouted.

My daughter grappled for hers, clicking just as quickly.  “And sissy’s second!” my son added.

I fumbled for my seat belt as we drifted out of the garage.  “I’m third,” I announced.

Only my son got serious.  “You’re not third, mom.  You’re LAST!”

Which reminded me of what I knew all along.

During my seventh grade summer, my middle school P.E. teacher encouraged me to turn out for TAC track.  Which was like AAU basketball.  Or USVBA volleyball.  Something with an acronym that no one can remember.

I did.

And I ran the 200 meter dash at a track meet in Seattle.

Or rather, I was on the same track at the same time as ten other girls—none of them white—who zipped past me to the finish line.

Last, my friend.

Very last.

But apparently there was good news…

Only two people in my age group were entered for the javelin.  Just two.  If I but walked up and tossed the javelin—anywhere–I was guaranteed a medal.

A medal.  Glory be.

What no one bothered considering was that I’d never thrown a javelin.

Correction.  I’d never touched a javelin.


it is possible I set a new record for how un-far a javelin can be chucked in the grass.

As well, I stood on the podium with my third place medal.  Earned by embarrassment alone.

But as my son would remind me, I was hardly third.

I was LAST.

…I knew it.


2 Responses to “When You’re LAST”

  1. kristine kwok says:

    usvba, memories…
    i thought this was going to be one of those mommy is last stories but it took on a twist that i never expected. very impressive. the transition was so subtle that i never had the “huh, where is this going?” question. you amaze me w/how versatile you are w/ur writing. i laughed out loud (which i don’t do often w/reading a story) at imagining you w/ur medal. one of your best, jeanne.

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