Nino wanted to compete. He had a drive stronger than most on the team, and there was no one who could deny him that passion, and so he found himself at the starting line, with instructions to a simple course. He started off with his usual ferocious attitude, and took off. The team cheered, waving him along from the sidelines as he disappeared into the trees. They would see him appear and disappear between the trees, and they hollered support regardless. Then he disappeared, and time ticked passed, and anxiety grew when he should have reemerged.
"Let's run with him!" She yelled above the excitement and began jogging down the sideline to find him. THe light patter of footsteps behind her brought a smile to her lips as the team joined her, all uniting to support a kid with down syndrome.
He came into view, walking and grinning, and doodling around.
"Go Nino!" And he picked up his pace, and the team fell in step behind him and next to him, surrounding him in "You got it! Halfway!" and "Keep pumping those arms!" and 'Whoa! Look at you go!"
Other teams looked on in confusion, wondering what the giant crowd was doing surrounding one person, but they didn't understand this kid had worked his butt off trying to run cross country, and he had every inch of their support to do it.
His feet slowed, provoking an uprising energy from the team, and he straggled along with them by his side. Together they ran down the downhill, and prepped him for the final stretch.
"THis is it Nino, this is where you fly. It's the last part, give it everything you have." And he flew. The suspence ate the heavy breathing and clomping footsteps as everything was tuned out, everyone focused entirely on him.
They saw him take off, and run down, throwing his hands up to the wind and he freed himself from the pain- he had a goal and it was so close. He exploded across the finish line and while no one could see his face, they didn't need to. No one loved as hard as he did, and he would be beaming, overflowing with happiness. There was a contagious euphoric feeling in the air, and the team embraced each other, laughing with pride.