In the towns, in fields, in basketball courts, the talent scouts — looking for runners, looking for tall kids who can become championship sprinters.
Hey mister, that’s my kid over there! See him? He’s the one you’re looking for. Look how fast he is, he’ll break the world record.
No way, too short. Looks like he won’t be more’n five-ten, five-eleven. That doesn’t cut it anymore. Usain Bolt is six-five. That’s what I want. Give me ten tall kids, and I’ll find a champion.
Wait, wait! Tyson Gay is five-eleven. Maurice Greene is just five-nine. And they won plenty of races!
That’s ancient history. We seen Bolt at the 2008 Olympics. Ran the 100 meters, set a new world record, 9.69 seconds. First man under 9.70, and he didn’t even try hard. With those big strides, he overtook ever’one else, then slowed down at the end to wave at the crowd and beat on his chest. Now that’s a champion! All those stubby runners behind him looked like children. No, short runners are the past; tall ones are hot. I’m looking here today, tomorrow I’ll be in Oklahoma City.
God, if I could only get a hundred tall kids. I don’t care if they run or not. We’ll take ‘em, train ‘em, see how fast they can go. Ninety-nine kids out of a hundred won’t be good enough. Tall runners always have problems: their reaction time is slow, they can’t move their feet fast enough. That’s why everyone used to think that sprinters can’t be tall. But that all changed after we saw Bolt run in the Olympics. Now everyone wants tall runners, runners with the potential to be the next Usain Bolt.
It’s like we always thought automobiles should be big, as big as you can get ‘em, and then one day we’re told that small automobiles are better. Everyone’s dumping their big trucks and gettin’ small cars. Jus’ like that, the world turned upside down. Well, that’s how it is with runners now. We don’t want them short; short runners are finished. Only tall ones. Can’t find tall adult runners; we would have washed them out long ago. Gotta get ‘em young, train a whole new generation of runners. When we tell our grandchildren we saw runners under six feet win gold medals they ain’t gonna believe us. Christ, if I could only get five hundred tall kids! Find ‘em, sign ‘em up, get them to a trainer, collect the finder’s fee! If I had enough tall kids I’d retire in six months.
What do you mean, you don’t want to run? Now, look here. I’m tryin’ to help you become a star, and you took all this time. I might a signed three kids while I been talkin’ to you. I’m disgusted. Yeah, sign right here, and get your parents to sign over there. I’ll send you the details later.
Jesus, I wisht I had a thousand tall kids!
(With apologies to John Steinbeck)
(Photo by puck90)