Paralysed - When the fear is greater than the will

Ntsika is a 19 year old young man. He is a runner. As he he is faced with challenges in his sport and his life, he realises that the race to be great is only beginning. When he finds himself paralysed by fear, the doubt, loneliness, discouragement and worthlessness takes over. Does Ntsika have the will to keep going? Or will he remain PARALYSED?


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3. Chapter 3

It was a warm Saturday morning and the GRC boys were training on the track at Sharp stadium with their coach, Coach Brian. Dash was there as well as other  under 17, 18 and 19 boys. It had been a challenging few weeks and Ntsika felt as if he was in over his head, he did not understand what Mr Jackson had seen in him when he asked him to join the Gallopers.  The interval training was killing him. He was so winded that he could not utter a single syllable after each sprint. He noticed that Coach Brian did not have the same warm fatherly presence that Mr Jackson had. He was not mean, but he wanted results and he was not one to have favourites.

“Man, I do not know what to do. Why am I not able to just run faster and easier?” Ntsika said to Dash as the boys were walking out of the stadium. “You think too much you know that. Just relax and keep coming to training and… run.” Dash said casually as he peeled a banana. A small blue car was parked at the park just outside the stadium.  “That’s my bro. Bye man, see you next week.” Dash said with a banana filled mouth as he swung his sports bag over his shoulders and began to run over to the small blue car. As the car drove off Ntsika stood there thinking about how he felt like such a loser. It did not matter which club he belonged to or which coach he had, he was just not a good runner. Maybe he should just give up and try something else, but what? He could not sing, dance, play sports or an instrument, and even if he did find something else that he was good at or enjoyed and could learn and improve at, where would he get the money to fund his new extra mural activity. Running needed no equipment, just decent running shoes. He could run for free anywhere, the yearly fee was affordable and he could easily pay for it with the money that he earned doing chores for the neighbours. His mom never gave him money for doing chores because she said it was his duty as a child in her house.

While walking across the park, Ntsika saw a group of boys and a couple of girls around a park bench. He knew one of the girls quite well, her name was Nandi and their mothers were friends. They used to play together a lot when they were children. Now she was hanging out with Spikes and the like and she dressed like the girls his big sister liked to call “marketers”. She said the way they dressed was a marketing strategy to get guys to have sex with them. This made him wonder if Nandi had in fact done things like that with guys like Spikes. Nandi was sitting on the park bench with guys on either side of her. The other girl was standing behind the bench; a tall Spikes with a cigarette in his mouth had his arms around her exposed waist. There was raucous laughter and giggles coming from the group. As Ntsika passed by them he made an effort not to look in their direction, hoping to go unnoticed but his attempt at being invisible did not work, he was spotted.

“Hey, look it’s runner boy!” “Come over Ntsika, you look a little run down, get it, run down!” They all burst into laughter except for Nandi who just smiled uncomfortably. Ntsika thought they were all idiots. Spikes was the biggest idiot and they were idiots for following his idiotic lead. Spikes was known for being a trouble maker; he had no parents and was raised by older siblings who were not exactly the guardians of the year. He bunked school and liked standing in street corners with girls in tight pants and short skirts. He also smoked and drank stuff. Marsha had told Ntsika that if she ever found out that he was smoking or drinking alcohol, then he would be disowned because that stuff was going to turn him into a loser just like the many men in the neighbourhood and just like his father.

Ntsika continued to ignore the delinquent youths and walked on. “Look at you Mr serious huh?” Spikes came over and stood in front of Ntsika, blocking his way. When Ntsika moved to the side he moved as well, this carried on for a few seconds until Ntsika shoved him hard in the chest. “Get away man!” This caused the other boys to protest noisily as they came over and took his bag and tossed it on the dry grass. One of the boys twisted Ntsika’s arm behind his back and Spike came up to his face and puffed out his cigarette smoke. Ntsika coughed and they laughed. “Guys leave him alone, let’s just go!” Nandi cried. The other girl stood still in the back with her arms wrapped around herself. The boys did not listen, Spikes slapped Ntsika hard in the head. Ntsika clenched his teeth and kicked hard, managing to kick Spikes on the chin. “What the fuck do you think you are doing eh?” Spikes spat out his cigarette, his yellow eyes filled with disgusted anger as he punched Ntsika in the gut.  Ntsika grunted. “Oh my goodness! Leave him alone, for goodness’s sake!” Nandi was waving her arms and stomping hysterically.

There was a cool evening breeze and the smell of dry grass filled the air. There was a metallic taste in his mouth and his fingers felt numb. Ntsika opened his eyes slowly while trying to get up and winced in pain. There was a sharp pain in his right arm and his back was tight and stiff. He lied there looking up at the sky. “Damn Spike.”

 

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