Running Man

My nephew had been moping around the house all night. His shoulders were slumped and he could barely lift his eyes off the floor. Something was clearly on his mind.

“What’s wrong, mate?” my brother, Shane, had asked him several times. “Is something bothering you at school? What’s up?”

Eventually, Shane cornered him in the kitchen and demanded answers. My nephew finally opened up.

“I’ve got to run a cross country race at school,” he said.

Fear of embarrassing himself was what was eating my nephew up.

“How far do you have to run?” my brother asked.

It was only a couple of k.

“And when’s the race,” my brother asked, thinking it must be the next day or maybe next week.

“In May.”

This was in February. Nothing like getting in early on the worrying stakes.

“So we’ve got some time then.”

My brother runs, rides and swims. He does triathlons with the same sort of gusto I do all you can eat buffets. He suggested instead of moping about they use the next couple of months before the race to train. See, this is where my brother and I differ. I’d more likely have shown my son how to mope more effectively and suggested dressing in black.

Then the day came. Shane took the day off to watch. He hoped their training would pay off and his son would so well. Enough to be able to hold his head up anyway. The runners started to trickle in and, incredibly, his boy was well ahead of the pack.

“I think he did really well,” Shane told his wife excitedly. He was really impressed. “What did he come? Seventh? Six?” 

She didn’t know. He raced down to where the group of runners stood catching their breathe to congratulate his son.

“That was awesome, mate,” he said.

“Thanks, dad,” said my nephew. He was apparently looking pretty pleased with himself. Until Shane went on.

“Any idea where you came? I wasn’t counting, but I reckon you got sixth.”

The happy look immediately left his son’s face.

“Oh, no,” said my nephew. It was like they were back in the kitchen: his shoulders were slumped and his head was hanging.

“What?” asked Shane.

“The top six have to run at regionals,” my nephew mumbled.

Fortunately, he got seventh. But way to strive for mediocrity!

I’m starting to suspect he’s from my side of our side of the family. I better reserve another chair at the buffet, just in case.

(I should like to point out, in my nephew’s defense, he broke away and scored a 50m try today on the final whistle)

When not typing away over here and checking his stats every two minutes Bruce Devereaux hangs out at his ‘BIG FAMILY little income’  Facebook Page.

 ’raising a family on little more than laughs’


  • Great effort from your nephew! I remember there was a short phase in primary school where I somehow became good at the long distance running thing. It created an awful lot of great expectations, so I must say I was quite relieved when I too returned to mediocrity 🙂

  • I have a thing where (according to Tracey) I won’t go in something if I don’t think I’ll win. I don’t want to come second (again, according to Tracey). She’s offered a LOT of examples, but I’m still unconvinced.

What do you think?

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