We stood outside on the day of the first Sports challenge. Teresa told us what we would be doing that day, although we knew already. All of us knew the challenges because we had watched The BFF Wars on TV before.
“We’ll start with a race,” Teresa was saying. “A girl from Team Tori will race against one from Team Jules. Then we’ll have a soccer game. Everybody got that?”
We all nodded.
I had a feeling that Charlotte and I could win today. Along with art and horses, sports was my real passion.
Teresa, Ashley and Sianne headed over to the track, followed by Jules and Venus.
I turned to Charlotte and put my hand on her arm. She had been super quite all morning, and her color had been off. “Hey, are you feeling OK? You don’t seem so hot, Champ.”
Charlotte nodded. “Yeah, I’m fine.”
“Just tell me if you feel dizzy or anything.”
When we caught up with the hosts of The BFF Wars and Team Jules, Teresa was talking about the race.
“Talk amongst yourselves and figure out who’s going to run,” she instructed.
I faced Charlotte and said, “I’d like to race; I’m pretty fast.” When my friend didn’t say anything, I added, “But if you’d like to race instead, I’m fine with that too.”
Charlotte began, “I –” She suddenly cut herself off by doubling over and coughing.
I put my arm around Charlotte, alarmed, and asked, “Are you OK? Charlotte?”
She just kept coughing.
I waved in Teresa direction frantically. “Teresa! Come here, quick!”
Teresa hurried over when I called her and put her arm around Charlotte, too.
“Charlotte, honey, are you OK?” she asked.
Charlotte took a deep breath, trying to stop coughing.
Teresa helped Charlotte over to a patch of grass beside the soccer field.
I rushed over to Charlotte. “Is she going to be OK?” I asked Teresa. “Will she be able to compete in Sports 1?”
Charlotte smiled at me weakly. “I’ll be fine, Tori, but I don’t think I’m up to sports today.” She looked at Teresa. “Is it possible for Tori to compete in this event without me?” Charlotte coughed again a couple times.
“In this case, I think Tori can compete alone,” Teresa replied.
As Teresa and I made our way back to the track, we saw Venus and Jules arguing over who was going to race.
“I know Tori,” Jules was saying. “I know how she runs; I might be able to beat her!”
“No!” Venus waved her hands in the air. “I’m going to race. Just tell me how to beat Tori.”
Jules continued with a sigh. ” . . . Start out strong . . . Tori . . . slow . . . do not . . . use all your energy at the end.”
Venus was tapping her foot on the asphalt so loudly she only heard about half of what Jules was saying. “OK, so I’ll start out strong and not use all my energy at that end. Thank you so much.” She said the last sentence with fake sweetness. Venus darted out to the track, taking the first lane.
I joined Venus on the track and took lane two. You can do this, I told myself. Just start out slow and save your energy for a sprint at the end.
Sianne and Charlotte were sitting near the soccer field, so only Jules, Ashley and Teresa flanked the track. Ashley and Sianne stood in silence and waited for Teresa to signal us to run.
Teresa raised her hand in the air, shouted “Go!” and brought it down quickly.
Venus pulled in front of me in the first two yards. I wondered why she would sprint at the beginning of the race. I took a deep breath, focused on the track in front of me, and ran, making sure not to go all out yet.
I passed Venus at the first curve in the track. I could hear her short breaths behind me as she struggled to keep running.
One, two, one two, I thought. It helped me to think in time with my footsteps when I ran.
Soon the finish line came into view. Jules cheered for her teammate, “Ve-nus! Ve-nus!” and from the soccer field came Charlotte’s voice, “Tor-i! Tor-i!”
I rounded the last corner and started to sprint.
I crossed the finish line with a satisfied sigh, five feet in front of my competition.
I raised my arms in the air, panting and sweaty, but victorious.
Teresa, as a host of The BFF Wars, wasn’t supposed to pick sides, but she couldn’t help giving me a hug.
“That was awesome, Tori!” she exclaimed.
I had won the race! I was halfway to winning Sports 1. If only I could win the soccer match by myself, the teams would be tied.
To be continued . . .