The day we met Dynamo he was six-and-a-half months old. His foster mother laid him on a blanket on the table in front of us. “He’s not quite crawling yet,” she said through the interpreter. Dynamo turned and gave a little smile, as if to say, “That’s what you think.” Then he pushed himself onto his knees and took off. I caught him just as he reached the edge of the table.
That was our first sign of things to come. He walked before he was 9 months old, was running at 11 months. By 18 months, I couldn’t catch him unless I put a real sprint on, something I’ve never been good at. He just loves running.
Until last year he’d never lost a race. Then he caught a cold just when it was time for the Interschools Sports Carnival. He insisted on going, but despite his best effort, he came second. That didn’t worry him. What did get him though, was the boy (from another school) who won. As they climbed onto the podium, this kid turned to Dynamo and whispered, ‘Loser!’
That was it. From then on, Dynamo had only one plan. This year he would get into the Interschools and beat that kid. He didn’t care whether he came first, just as long as that unsporting kid got his come-uppance. He even told his friend from school (who actually beat him in the school sports day this year , but was very nice about it) that he didn’t care if he beat him again at the Interschools, as long as he beat that kid.
Today was the big day. No cold and, much to Dynamo’s delight, no shoes (he runs faster without). He ran as he always runs, like he’s being chased by a ferocious dog. There’s no one else there, just that row of chairs beyond the finish line. I had to stand half-way along the track, so I couldn’t see where he’d come. I did see him fall ‘head over kettle’ (as his grandfather would put it) as he threw himself into the chair, but I had to wait for the announcements. One of the teachers from our school was announcing and as she said his name in first place she added, “Your mum will be so proud of you!” She told me later, he’d won by quite a way.
Proud’s not the word. Even better, he has no idea where the kid came who beat him last year. In the euphoria of the win, he completely forgot about him.