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In the infield after the race, Cummings bent his thin body forward, placed a hand on each knee and sucked in deep drafts of warm steaming air. Sweat had plastered his black curly hair to his head. "I came here to win," he said finally, and then he smiled. "But that was just in the back of my head. I think Tony was down a little today. He'll bounce right back."
Cummings' father came out of the stands and walked across the grass, stopping silently, almost shyly, a few feet away from his son. A small boy was with him. After a while the father said to a reporter, "This is Paul's brother. He is one of 13 children." To Paul, he said: "You stunned a lot of people."
"I stunned myself," said Paul.
"You look a lot stronger this year," his father said, "You don't look as thin as before. Of course, we only see you every six months."
Cummings nodded and said he had put on a little weight. Then he told his father he would not be able to compete in the AAU championships in June because of a summer construction job he had in Green River, Utah. "It pays $6.25 an hour and I can't afford not to take it," he explained.
"Paul's a good son," Dave Cummings said. "With 13 children I can't help him any. He has a full scholarship, but he works to pay his own way on everything else. He makes his own car payments." He turned back to his son. "You were real good, Paul. It was a five-hour drive here from home, but we just had to see you run. I was hoping you'd finish second, you know, to that other guy. You sure surprised a lot of folks."
Paul grinned. "Yeah, like me."
His mother joined the small group. She hugged her son, then stepped back, studied his face. "Oh, you've got a cold sore on your lip," she said. "Use Neosporin. That will clear it up."
The father looked at his wife and smiled. "She's not much of a track fan," he said.