“Look at that skinny, gangly kid," said the stupid Garcia.
Garcia was a stocky kid, with good legs and a good abdomen that made his figure the most aerodynamic for running on the track. He belonged to the university's selection to run the 100 and 200-meter dash.
However, that body sculpted by the gods had also given him a closed and self-centered mentality. His teammates despised him, but like any talented kid, they followed him around like little lambs hoping to get something out of his graces.
Garcia when he ran no one could catch him, his gait on the track was that of a raging buffalo.
The new boy who entered the track was different from Garcia. His clothes were humble and even ungainly, they were baggy, giving him a fragile and famished appearance. In his eyes, there was submission and silence.
Garcia was not going to let this opportunity to humiliate him slip away.
“Hey, wimp," the new guy looked at him like a lion, "Don't be alarmed, I won't do anything to you. Why are you coming to the athletics track," Garcia stood in front of the boy, intimidating him.
The boy was afraid to answer.
One of Garcia's teammates could see the letterhead on the new boy's sweater.
“His name is Daniel Garcia, hey he has your last name Garcia," he scoffed, but soon shut up when he saw the anger in his leader's eyes.
“No, and he will never be a Garcia. Not with that look," he said angrily, raising his voice.
Coach Venancio entered the scene.
“Leave the kid alone, I have you in my sights, Garcia," he observed to Daniel. “I sent for him, he will represent us in the 1500 meters next month and he is coming to train.”
Regardless of what the coach had said, Garcia glared hatefully at the boy.
“Coach, please, you want to embarrass us with that.”
“That boy has a name Garcia if you want I can call him Garcia 1 and you Garcia 2.”
Daniel shook his head, shocked at the way things were going.
“Coach, just call me Daniel. And I only came because I had no choice. You said if I came I could pass P.E. without attending" Daniel wanted the ground to eat him up. “Really! We don't have to get violent.”
Garcia laughed in amusement.
“Frightened” he shouted at the poor boy and went off to practice.
The coach denied the boy's behavior with disappointment. He would teach him a dose of humility with the new one.
Daniel went off to change. When he returned the trainer discovered that he had found what he was looking for.
Daniel was then, but he had the physiognomy of a long-distance runner. His legs were strong, pure fiber, and his back was just as cracked. He had no arms, but he didn't need them. The boy's abs glistened under the T-shirt he wore.
“Daniel, you run, don't you?" he asked the boy again.
Daniel was alarmed as the first one who asked him the question in class.
“The circumstances sir, I run to get to class.”
The trainer led Daniel away from the others. They walked onto the nice college track. Not that they had much of a budget, rather it was short, so the track was maintained by the coach and his assistant. They trimmed the bushes as best they could, but a struggle they were slowly losing. Other duties needed to be fulfilled, such as enforcing the hydration, nutrition, and training of their wards, especially that of the arrogant Garcia.
They were now in the northernmost part of the track, alone. It was not long before six o'clock in the afternoon. From where they were, the track looked very much like a plain in the dry season; all that was missing was the appearance of a herd of cattle herded by a foreman.
“Explain that to me," asked the trainer.
The trainer's voice invited the boy to speak, so he did.
“Sir, I live far from the university. And the buses don't run as often as I would like," Daniel swallowed, thinking he would be scolded, but the coach just nodded for him to continue. “If I didn't run I'd miss class.”
The coach looked at the boy again, he looked at him as if he was looking at a champion as if he was in front of a legend.
“Boy, could you tell me something?" Daniel nodded nervously. “How many years have you been running?”
Daniel paused to think.
“Well, sir, I think since I was 8 years old.”
“Tell me why since that age, you weren't studying here yet.”
Daniel seemed confused by the question.
“Sir, I am very poor, so I have to run everywhere.”
“How did you get into this university then?" the coach asked this question without thinking about the connotations of the question before.
“I'm poor, not dumb, Sir…” the last words were said with contempt. “I am the best in mathematics, so I came to this university which is the cheapest to study mathematics. However, I don't understand how it has Sport as its curriculum," the boy spoke with anger and scorn.
“You said it, boy, it's a cheap university. The people who run it steal the little money they invest in it and they don't even know how to manage the professors' salaries.” there was a bitter silence. “However, that oversight in the curriculum made me meet you," the coach nodded complacently. “Now you will not attend classes, but you will run when I ask you to run and in the way I want you to run" another bitter silence, Daniel did not answer, he only listened. “You say you go everywhere running, now you will run for you because you have a skill that you have polished for years, a skill that asks you to take to the track, do you understand?”
Daniel understood everything the man was saying. He felt his legs shaking with excitement.
“But I don't have...”
The trainer silenced him with his hand.
“There are no more buts, Daniel." Calling him by name carried more weight for the young man. “What you lack, I'll give you. You lack shoes I'll give it to you, you lack a shirt I'll give it to you, you lack food I'll give it to you.”
“Now run, boy.”
Daniel went out to the track.
Garcia was perplexed to see him run. If he looked like a buffalo running, Daniel was a leopard.
Months later, everyone looked like Garcia.
The young man entered the competition in his worst clothes, at the request of his teacher. If he wanted to dazzle them, he had to do it in style. Everything was a planned scene, the look, the awkward movements. His rivals underestimated him as did Garcia.
However, as soon as they went to the starting blocks and saw him in his running shorts, shoes, and T-shirt, they felt the vibe of a runner from another level. They were shocked to see the change, they were perplexed to see him run the 5000 meters as if it was nothing.
"It was like he was dancing on the track," said one.
"He was smiling, I swear, every time I turned around I saw his hellish grin," said one of the runners.
"That boy was born with a gift," said the jurors.
But Daniel was never born with a gift, he just ran because he had to run.