3rd August 2018

The future of sports

Hearing others fight is probably the most uncomfortable feeling especially when my name is dropped in every second sentence.  This has been going on for days now and the closer it gets to the test the louder the volume. My plate contains the almost bare minimum, just enough to keep me going. Angus just loves to remind me how much we need this with casual comments about my weight, ‘ any more bread and u won’t make it over the bar’. Without the extensive use of pills and vitamins under this roof, I would have faded away long ago but anything to stay skinny right mum. I am never sure if Mum does it to protect my future or to save what’s left of hers.

Drowning in this white room with nothing but a chair for oxygen. It feels like I have been in here for hours but still, time goes too fast. All of the money spent on a coach for this moment and I can’t remember any of the things she taught me so I try to mimic the stretches I saw on the tv in the cafeteria. Every so often I hear a distant scream or a squeal apart from that, silence. I’m trying to distract myself by reciting a line from a movie but still, the daunting thought of the future plays tricks with my mind.

The blank white door suddenly glows a bright red before opening to reveal two men dressed in pale blue. One with a kind smile, the other with a distressed look. Each carrying a tray containing various alarming utensils which as they walk toward me rattle around on the metal making an unsettling sound. I can feel him about to grab the sharpest needle and just as I predicted he does. Needles have been my biggest fear since my eighth birthday when I had to get my first steroid pack put into my kidneys. Since then every 6 months, I dread the day my kidney monitor shows up empty.  As they prepare the torture device, the whole room fills with an artificial strawberry smell but it’s been so long I can’t even remember what I’m smelling; candy or my morning electrolytes. The men both take a step closer which sends instant chills down my spine for many different reasons. The closer they get the brighter pink liquid becomes by now I know that’s a signal to take a deep breath and close my eyes. A cold hand lowers the collar while another guides the dripping needle to my neck and slowly pushes it deeper into my bare skin. I clench my fists tight but still, it aches. As I open my eyes I see the empty barrel and know whatever is in my veins cant be good. Both men shoot a smile at me while collecting all the equipment and begin to explain what happens now. After the last word, I try to process what I had just heard but only a few words caught my attention. “simulation”, “winner”, “forever”, Those words explain themselves but still, I had many questions.

“Miss Miller” chants a familiar voice, I snap out of my thoughts and direct my attention to the doorway. A slim man with an impatient look stands there with his hand tight to his side. It takes me several seconds to realize whos glaring at me. ” Hi, I’m Abigail Miller ” I shoot my hand out but he ignores it ” I am aware of your profile” he takes a long pause before continuing with ” I am here to escort you to the examination room”.  As we wander down the hallways, I notice many more doors like the one I came from but no insight into whats in them. A TV pops up on the wall every 50 or so meters, each with a different message about the importance of sports in our future or the ways we can ensure a place in the top six. All of them starring Cliff Barkley. The tall man next to me is doing a great job at pretending his face isn’t plastered on every wall in this emotionless place. Modesty has never been a quality I have possessed. I am so desperate for an end to this silence that I try to form a sentence but out loud it sounds terrible. ” So….uuh why did u choose spor…..” luckily I’m cut off by the double doors that will quite possibly lead me to my fate.

Dozens of heads turn in my direction followed by whispers and a giggle. I don’t give them any reaction because the only ones that I need to impress are the judges. All seven sit at a table, each evenly positioned around the border of the room. My hands shake as I attempt to re-tie my laces. I turn attention to the course and decide the moves required to reach the finish line. A tall boy probably no older than me walks calmly up to me, hands me a cup of water and waits patiently while I drink it. He takes the cup back, smiles at me then returns back to the corner of the room. The judges’ eyes meet mine which must be a signal to begin. I take small steps up to the red line on the ground and take a deep breath in through my nose and exhale through my mouth. 

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