The Cross Country
I would not categorise myself as a sportman. But I would never refuse if I am asked to participate – thus that was my sportsmanship spirit. And of course, I can be a good spectator and team supporter.
One of the annual event that I drag my feet had always been the cross country. I would dragged my feet because I know that I was never a good long distance runner – but never give any excuse to escape it even knowing I would not be contributing any point to my house – Pelanduk.
Through the years, I never contribute any point to my house. The closest I could managed was when the referee blew the last whistle when I was about 100 meters away from the finishing line. Otherwise, I would reach the school walking when you cannot find the finishing line anymore. But I knew I was never the last all those years.
At the morning before the start of the event, you would smell all kinds of ointment lingering in the air. Some would still be rubbing all over the legs hoping it would make them feel “lighter” and could run faster. The most popular during my days would be “minyak ular” – made me wonder when did the snake move fast enough when they crawl.
I remember a cousin of my wife who almost always be among the front finishers. When he continued his studies in Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, USA, he would never missed the marathon there. Amazingly, he would always made the Sulaimanians proud for finishing top among the international students.
I am sure this cross country route map would bring a lot of memories to many of the readers. I believe this is the only one that was included in the school magazine – 1960. I wonder if they would still use the same route.
But today, if they still use the same route, the run across the padi field would not be as challenging as it used to be. They have stopped planting padi and one would see bungalows being built now. No more leeches!