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Trying Out for The Team (Original School Yard Fiction 2)
Whatever is Flash Fiction?
- Flash fiction appears to be the new term for what used to be known colloquially as the “short short” story. To qualify as flash fiction, a story needs to be under one thousand words. In some instances, it can be as short as six words.
- Flash fiction fulfills a number of purposes. It is suitable for adding interest to newsletters and web-pages because it can fit into a spare column.
- Flash fiction requires a certain amount of skill because a story needs a beginning, middle and conclusion. To appeal to the reader it also requires some character development and a conflict or problem. Sometimes observing a strict word limit requires extreme creativity on the part of the author.
- Flash fiction may be the form chosen by writers who do not wish to waste a lot of words on description and filling the story out. It may also be a form suitable for young writers and readers.
- Flash fiction competitions are occasionally run in real life and online – and during the competition the writers have a limited amount of time to create each story before being judged and going onto the next round.
- Flash fiction also appears to acknowledge our electronic age, where messages are sent under strict limits or read on small screens. The six word flash fiction I referred to would likely be designed to be tweeted on twitter, where the number of characters available challenges the more verbose operator.
Trying Out for The Team
It was a hot sticky day in early February, and Jonah waved his hand at a fly as he stood on the athletics field. Jonah knew he was a fast runner, and he had always wanted to represent his school at sport, but there were many bigger, stronger kids. This year, though, he was a year four and he was determined to make it into the team.
The qualifying race begins
The Coach called his name, and Jonah skipped across to the starting line to join three other boys. There were two spare places in the team, and four boys were trying out. The maths was not good – two boys would get into the team, and two others would be left out! Some of the big kids had won events last year, and others excelled at special things like hurdles and long jumps, or discus throwing. Those kids were guaranteed their places in this year’s team.
Coach blew a whistle and dropped his hand at the same time. Jonah knew this was the signal to begin to run. Jonah ran hard down the track and around the oval. He knew that this was a distance event - the eight hundred meters - and he should pace himself, but he could not help it. He wanted to be out in the front of the runners. Around and around the runners went. Jonah kept his place in the lead, but he could feel the other runners thumping the grass behind him. One of them was about to get past and take the lead, and Jonah pushed himself into a dizzying spurt of speed.
It was then that it happened. A tree root, which Coach would later dig out of the grass, caught Jonah by the toe and tripped him. Jonah fell onto the grass, scaping his leg and bumping his nose. Jonah was frightened and hurt, but he would not let himself give up the race. He put his hands on the ground in front of him, braced himself and sprang into the air. His feet hit the ground already running. Two other boys were ahead of him and he chased their backs.
Jonah caught and over-took one boy. He was thrilled, and it helped him know he was going fast enough, but the finish line was too close, and no-matter how hard Jonah tried, he could not get past the other boy in time. He finished second. It was enough to get him on the team, but it wasn’t what he had wanted. After trying so hard, he had wanted to show everybody that he could win.
He proved his worth
Coach was pleased, however. The tall man clapped and handed Jonah a sheet full of results. “You did not finish first Jonah,” Coach said, “but you did your very best. I will be proud to have you on the team this year!”
Then Jonah went to see the School Nurse to have some antiseptic and a band-aid put on his scratch. Now that he was not puffing so hard, he too knew he had done well. Not many other people could fall over during a race and still earn a place in the team!
I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.— Michael Jordan
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