One day, in 1986, I was three. And I was going to run my first official race. There would be cups and shields to take home!
We must have been at the school’s sports ground for about fifteen minutes when my name was called out. This is it! The teacher drew our markers and we took our positions. I watched her place the objects we had to use for the tasks which we had to finish during the course of the race.
“On your marks. Get… set… go…” And I was off!
I ran like I had never run before. The first task required us to pick up a comb from the ground and comb our hair. Most of us only touched the combs to our heads. I heard the spectators cheering and clapping.
I ran to the spot where we had to perform our next task. I found a banana in a paper bowl. My friends picked theirs and gobbled them up.
I took my time to peel it, checked if there were any extra-ripe portions that I did not like, and took a small bite. It tasted good. I took another bite and watched the crowd of spectators. They were pointing and laughing. Then I heard the whistle. That’s when I realised that this was a race task, not breakfast.
My mother came running to me. She was laughing. Mother said, “You were supposed to eat the banana and run. Not just eat the banana!” I looked at her with my last mouthful. “I wasn’t as quick as the others so I thought I might as well just finish off the banana properly.”
I was elated when they awarded me a prize, though – a consolation prize of sorts. I had, after all, entertained an audience.