His mind was ready and completely focused. He started the motion and poured every piece of himself into it, with so much emotion he felt his head and heart would explode. Duke hopped in a several circles and swung. The projectile blasted through the air like a shell from artillery.
His head snapped to follow the trajectory with his eyes glued, tracing it, and calculating its final target. It had not landed yet, and he didn’t need to see the ball’s final resting place. He knew he had done it. He raised both fists and with all his might leaped into the air screaming “Yes” to the dumbfounded crowd of one hundred thousand.
The audience’s eyes followed the arc of the ball headed for the grassy, soft green earth. The ball passed the last hash mark.
The astounding distance registered, they jumped from their seats and filled the stadium with an instant roar. Duke stood erect as the crowd turned as one to look at him. He raised his right fist, turned in a half circle, and acknowledged the praise for his moment of glory. He smiled, his chin held high, as sweat poured down his face, and his jersey pasted itself to his muscled body.
As Duke trotted off the field to the manic screaming of the fans, his mind flashed to his college coach saying, “You’ll never make it.” He said, “You haven’t the heart or drive to do sixty. You’re clumsy on your feet. If you can’t tell those lines on the ground are not to be crossed, and if you miss the field one more time, you’re off the team before you kill someone.”
Duke smiled to himself. What do you think now, coach Brown?
Yes, he had trouble getting his footwork down: heel-toe, turn, heel-toe, turn, spin, spin, spin, spin, and release. All with perfect balance, and with no attention on the body.
Oh, yeah, he chuckled to himself. He fell so often, he felt like a rooky guard on an NFL team. The coach was right. He was clumsy, but that coach never gave him the prescription to fix it.
He had to find the secret himself.
Once in a while, he wondered at how much effort and pain he put into learning to perform this sport. To prove Coach Brown wrong? Fame and fortune? No, none of those things; it was just there and he was going to do it. There wasn’t any other reason other than he wanted it. Not that he needed to know what motivated him, but he found a quote once that explained it all and hit him like a thunder clap in the sky. “Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.
As he approached the tunnel to the locker room, a reporter from ABC Sports cornered him with stupid questions like, “How do you feel.” “What do you want to say to your fans?” And finally, the only question he wanted to answer, “Now that you have demolished the world record for the Hammer Throw of 90.2 meters, to what do you owe this unbelievable success?”
Duke, a hulking man at six feet four, two hundred fifty-six pounds, with a body like Atlas, stopped walking and turned to the camera. “I owe my success to ballet lessons.”
The journalist watched with a slack jaw, as Duke entered the tunnel.
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Other fiction by Phoenix:
Leon’s Lair, Speculative Fiction that has it all – romance, betrayal, suspense, evil creatures, heroes, and lot’s of adventure. Amazon.com
A Whisper from Eden, Speculative Fiction based on a real Indian tribe and their ancient myths of people who came from the heavens. Amazon.com
My Beloved Ghost in the Amazon, how one man found redemption in an unexpected place – the jungles of the Amazon. Amazon.com