Our high school track coach is a drill sergeant. I don’t think she’s been in the army, but I’m not about to ask. I don’t want to get close enough for her to chew me up and spit me out. In case she’s looking for an excuse. I really want her to put me on the relay team with Cheryl. Cheryl is a sprinting goddess. The thing is, like any goddess, she’s kinda self-involved. She tends to slow up at the finish line. For the photograph.
So Coach has been telling us how we have to learn to run past the finish line, stretch out and reach for it with our entire bodies. She’s after us again today.
“You ladies have heard the expression ‘win by a nose’, correct?”
We nod, but of course Cheryl has to pipe up: “That’s for horses, Coach.”
I hide behind Cheryl just in case, but Coach ignores her.
“Stick your necks out and some of you, Moriarty here, could win by a nose. And that’s good for the team.”
Comprehending, feeling like I need to share, I say: “I won by a tush once.”
“What?” Coach turns towards my voice. I step out from behind Cheryl.
“Speed skating.” I smile, thinking of my trophy. “I was ahead, about to win, when I tripped and fell on the ice, right on my keister.”
“Usually grounds for disqualification,” says Coach, about to turn away.
“Yeah,” I say, still sort of smiling. “But I slid right over the finish line, butt first.” I turn to Cheryl. “Got the trophy to prove it.”
Cheryl steps in front of me. She stands with her hand on one hip, chest out. She has the biggest boobs in school. “Can’t win a sprint ass first, can you?” she says.
“That’s it, Cheryl!” Coach hoots. “When you reach for the finish, lead with your chest. Get those tits over the finish line for the win.”
“I got the trophy to prove it,” I say again.