Our Bonnie resides in Rochelle
Academically she does excel
Our Bonnie flies over the racetrack
And her jumps are both long and high
In discus our Bonnie throws long ones
Our Bonnie is our shining star ...
Bonnie, oh Bonnie, we are so proud of you—of youu-ooo-ooo
SHE STARES down the long jump runway. Nothing has changed. Everything has changed. Her stomach clenches at the contradictions: Each time you rise, your hole grows deeper. The world's turning her into a feel-good story; she needs to feel bad. Insufficient. Capable of even more than something no girl has ever done before. But now her conditioning peak has come and gone, swine-flu fears having shoved the state meet back three weeks, till after her graduation, making this her first competition in a month. Her head aches. Her left calf's sheathed in a black sleeve because of shin splints. Her skin feels the eyes of Texas upon her—all the spectators and athletes she heard murmuring as she slipped through them to reach the track, That's the girl who won it all by herself last year. The little kids whispering, I just touched her uniform. She's supposed to outrun, outjump and outthrow Texas with an anvil on her back?
She pushes the hair from her eyes, rocks from front foot to back. She's the lone star more than ever, the only girl on her track team this entire season. Her foot hits the takeoff board, scratching her first jump. Her second one, 16'11¼", infuriates her. Her legs are cramping. Her steps are off, and she's overstriding on the last one to compensate, dissipating her launch energy. The best she can muster in six attempts is 17'4½", more than a foot and a half shorter than her best ... and that still wins the event. She sits slumped on a bench for 10 minutes. "Shake it off, baby!" Dad implores. More history: first father ever to utter those words to a daughter who just won a state crown.
I am both rugged and capable