By Tim Hillebrant.
Track was the sport Sandy most wanted to try. Her doctor told her she probably shouldn’t, given her asthma, but she didn’t care. With her mother’s permission, she signed the form to start the next week, excited to begin.
When Sandy arrived at the practice field the next Tuesday she got a surprise. Her friend and classmate, Nat, was there too. Nat, because of the physical limitations imposed by her cerebral palsy, would have a hard time competing, but like Sandy, she wanted to try.
“Would anyone mind helping Nat?” asked Coach Mike.
No one held up their hand. Sandy wanted to participate in track, but helping Nat would mean she couldn’t really compete very well, since she’d have to do her events, and then turn and help Nat with hers too. When Nat looked at Sandy, however, and she saw the disappointment in her friend’s eyes, Sandy held up her hand.
“I’ll do it. I’ll help Nat train and compete.”
Sandy’s heart wasn’t in it, but when she saw Nat’s huge grin, she knew she’d made the right choice. She also knew she probably wouldn’t receive any awards, but decided helping her friend was more important.
As the season progressed, the two friends became close. Sandy and Nat were inseparable, even though Sandy’s other friends were now scarcely found, due to their discomfort with Nat and her disabilities. Sandy didn’t let it show that it bothered her. She just poured herself into helping her friend.
When the season was over, Sandy and Nat came in last in all the events, but at least they finished them. Together the two girls smiled and clapped as the coach called out the names of the winners of the events and handed out trophies and ribbons.
When all was said and done, and the students all seated, the coach asked for quiet. The school principal walked onto the stage next to the coach, accompanied by a woman. Sandy recognized the woman as Nat’s Mom. She pointed this out to Nat, who smiled and waved at her mother.
Then Coach Mike called for attention and asked Sandy to come up and join him and the other two people. Feeling nervous, Sandy slowly stood and went to join Coach Mike, Principal G, and Nat’s mom, whom Sandy saw had tears in her eyes.
“Sandy, we have a special award for you. You thought of someone else before yourself and put your friend first. You helped Nat even though you knew you wouldn’t win any of the events. You always wore a smile and always had a great attitude, which we’ve noticed. You really made an impact on Nat and showed her what having a good friend can be like. You’ve set a good example for us all. This award is for you.”
Coach Mike then handed her a small trophy of a little heart.
Sandy knew she’d made the right choice. She helped her friend and won big.
Tim Hillebrant is an author/photographer from Southeast Idaho where he was born and raised. Currently living near Boise, Idaho, Tim is a husband, father, and passionate reader. His other interests include camping, fishing, cooking, movies, music, and trivia. Tim can also often be found helping out with Writers Carnival, where he serves as a member of the administrator’s community support team. You can see other examples of his work at; www.writerscarnival.ca