o, here I am aged 23. My name is Jesse Owens and I am about to represent my country at the 1936 Summer Olympics. Whoever would believe it? Me, a black kid from America. When I think back to how it all began, it’s incredible really. Running’s been my passion since I was little. I owe everything to my coach at school. Charles Riley encouraged me a lot. Hey, he even let me practise before school so I didn’t lose my after school job at the shoe repair shop. I’m wearing Adidas shoes, the first sponsorship deal for a male African-American athlete. Let’s hope they bring me luck. I so want to take back glory to my country.
Moment of Glory by Amina Hachemi
thman meandered down the street, blowing on a gravelly graze across his elbow. His thin, young adolescent face was streaked with grey tracks of sweat. His hand-me-down orange vest hung loosely from his scrawny frame and his blue shorts sat awkwardly above his scratched knees. Both were freshly doused with a coating of dust. Under his arm, he held tightly onto a deformed football, the fabric scratched and peeling. Dusk was setting in rapidly, but Othman was in no hurry to get home. He knew the crazy men – drunks and drug addicts – wouldn’t cause him any trouble while there were still people around. He could picture his family at home: his mother would be halfway through preparing dinner – some sort of pulse-based mash with a carrot or two, perhaps – in the cupboard kitchen, her face red and covered in beads of sweat, and her frizzy hair defying the grip of the scarf twisted tightly round it. His three elder sisters would be sweeping or scrubbing clothes in the large plastic basin that doubled as a bath, while his two younger brothers chased each other round the living room, which was also the children’s bedroom, arguing over the portable gaming console their father had bought them. Othman had played with it a couple of times, but it usually ended in a scramble with one or more of his brothers followed by their mother
I’m looking round the stadium. It’s a wonderful sight. All those pale faces. What must they think of me? Now, I’m ready. My heart’s pounding. I’m about to run as if my life depends on it. Here’s hoping. I’m Julie Gibbons. I live in Brighton. I have enjoyed writing on and off for many years. I’ve had a ‘True Confession’ story published and a ‘rant’ and a ‘top tip’. A writing class I attend is very enjoyable. The tutor is most encouraging. We aspire to be popular authors.
entering brandishing a wooden spoon. Anyway, the batteries had almost run out and they could only see the screen if they held one hand above it to block out the light. His two elder brothers would still be at work at the port and wouldn’t be back until late – even later than their father, who rarely ate dinner with them these days. A commotion suddenly caught Othman’s attention; there were loud shouts erupting from the café across the road. His interest piqued, he crossed the road to take a better look. Every face in the café was directed at a small television screen in the corner where a football match was being broadcast. Barcelona was playing and had just been awarded a penalty shot! Like all his friends, Othman’s favourite team was Barcelona and they always spent at least ten minutes at the beginning of each game arguing over who would play as Messi. They had all chalked his club number 10 on the back of their vests, anyway. Othman stared through the smoke-filled interior at the small screen as Messi walked up to take the shot, the football under his arm; Othman unconsciously tightened his grip on his own ball. The café fell silent; no one could breathe. Slowly, he placed the ball on the floor and held it there for a moment before stepping back several paces. His heart pounded like the pupils’ chaotic table drumming in maths class while the teacher watched, helpless. He stood completely still, assessing his position, the goal, and the goalkeeper; formulating a plan. Then, with the eyes of the world on him, he vaulted
the olympia edition ~ 47
Published on May 31, 2012
What the Dickens? Magazine. Bi-monthly magazine for writers, readers and all literary types. Issue 4: the Olympia Edition