Even after school on this day, the students were practicing for the sports festival one after another. The relay race was being held in the schoolyard where the pole topple practice had been held the other day, and the obstacle race was being held in the gymnasium (the actual event was held in the schoolyard).
“Sorry to keep you all waiting, let’s get started !”
Kisaragi, who participates in both competitions, is in charge of these two events. Apparently, in this short practice time, she will participate in both practices in between. At first, she was warming up in a corner of the schoolyard to participate in the relay.
(……Where does that energy come from?)
I’m lookign at that situation from the classroom window. I thought about going home early, but I was somewhat concerned about the state of my class. To be honest, there was nothing to do even if I went home, and there were not many people left in the classroom. So I decided to observe the relay.
I could only faintly hear the voices, but since I’ve mastered lip-reading, that’s not a problem.
(Even so, their enthusiasm is varied~)
Kisaragi is determined to win, Yukihana is looking so tired, and Hayama, the leader of the pole topple team, is determined to give it his all. Yukihana is wearing long-sleeved gym clothes in this hot weather.
“Since we’re all here. Then let’s decide the order in which to pass the baton !”
It seemed that they were deciding on the order of running first. I remember from last year, there’s an unspoken rule in this school relay that the first four runners are girls and the last four runners are boys. I don’t know if Kisaragi will follow that rule, but it won’t be weird because of the presence of Yukihana and Hayama.
“……Okay, how about like this !”
And so the order of runners for the relay was decided. Kisaragi will be the first runner to start the relay, while Yukihana will be the fourth runner to pass the baton to the boys. Hayama will be the eighth runner and will play a major role as the anchor.
The track team will start the dash and the soccer team will make the last spurt. The students who will serve as the relay between the two teams are all athletically gifted, so perhaps they will be able to put up a better fight than expected.
“Then, let’s do it for real !”
Just as the relay practice was about to begin, Hayama interrupted Kisaragi. He seemed to have something on his mind.
“Wait a minute, Kisaragi san. Since the other classes are practicing, why don’t we practice together? Specifically, let’s run together to test each other’s abilities.”
“I see……nice idea, Hayama kun !”
“……What a pain in the ass.”
Yeah, we’ve been doing the same thing with pole topple. From the way Hayama said yesterday, the other party must have had a student who belonged to the soccer club. And through that person, he would bring up the proposal to the other person’s class. That’s a means only a student who takes club activities seriously could use.
Competing with someone else is not a bad idea, as it lets you know how good you are. Yukihana is looking completely uncomfortable, but Kisaragi seems to be totally on board. No one is opposed to the idea.
“Then which class we’re practicing with…..ah.”
Kisaragi looks around the schoolyard to see if there are any classes that might be interested in a match, and then turns her attention to a certain student. Shee then runs in that direction.
(Kisaragi, that girl, who is she going to……ah, that person?)
Certainly, that person would be able to fully compete against Kisaragi, who’s a track and field club member. At first glance, no one in the class seemed to have bad athletic skills. Kisaragi, you have found a good opponent.
“Hey, Sakura ! “
Kisaragi waved her hand and called out to Shinkai Sakura. I had heard rumors that those two were good friends, but this is the first time I’ve seen them talking in person. Or perhaps Shinkai is also going to participate in the relay?
Kisaragi then asked Shinkai to compete against her class in the relay race. At first, Shinkai looked doubtful, but after listening to what she had to say, she discussed it with her classmates and gladly agreed to compete. Moreover, it seems that Shinkai, like Kisaragi, will be the first runner up.
In other words, this could be seen as a battle between Kisaragi and Shinkai. I have mixed feelings about this battle, no matter who wins.
After greeting the classes on the other side of the field, each of them started to head for their positions. The baton is passed every half lap, so I can see the four of them, including Yukihana, running to the other side.
“Then is everyone in position?”
When Kisaragi confirms with everyone, I hear energetic replies from the participating members. Both sides seem to be full of motivation.
（Now, who will win?)
The battle between Kisaragi and Shinkai is the one to watch. Both of them are in the category of outstanding physical ability among girls, so it would not be surprising to see either of them win. Well, personally,
(Shinkai’s physical ability has been slowed down by the administrative work of the student council for a while now. After all, the track team has the advantage here, Kisaragi…..)
[Sakura, I guess. You should observe them more carefully.]
I shake off the headache that has temporarily overtaken me and look at the schoolyard again. Looking around, students from other classes participating in the relay were also watching the battle. After all, they must be curious to see what their rivals are capable of.
Then, Hayama, the anchor and the slowest to start, prepares to give the starting signal. After confirming that everyone was ready, he raised his hand in the air.
“Okay, then. Take your positions, now……go ! !”
At the same time as Hayama’s signal, Kisaragi and Shinkai ran through. The lanes in the first straight seemed almost evenly matched, but surprisingly, Shinkai was one step ahead of Kisaragi. The best way to run is to use reflexes to dash at the start. As I taught her a long time ago, she runs to win.
However, the tables turned as they approached the corner. Kisaragi accelerated at once and leaped forward as if to weave in between Shinkai. Kisaragi, who’s used to running as a member of the track team, seemed to know where to put in the most effort. The difference in experience is what overtakes Shinkai.
“Tsk, she’s still……”
But Shinkai’s true strength came from this point on. The moment the corner ends and the lane becomes a straight lane, she consumes all of her energy and increases her speed at once.
“No way !?”
Kisaragi, perhaps not expecting Shinkai to be able to run this fast, was so upset that she lost her pace. Then, taking advantage of the gap, Shinkai caught up with Kisaragi.
( I guess her tenacity and unwillingness to give up are still alive and well even in high school.)
As I saw in the previous case, Shinkai shows her true value only when she’s cornered. But that opportunism is realized through her own efforts and burning passion. That is why I’m not one to underestimate her.
Then they put their arms out in front of them to pass the baton to the next runner. The timing was almost the same for both runners. Kisaragi was slightly faster, but it would not be an exaggeration to say that there was no difference if the gap was this close. The two passed the baton to the second runner at almost the same time.
“Haa, haa……Sakura, you’re too fast…..”
“You too, Yuu, you’re putting on too much……seriousness.”
They entered the track room and sat down as well. Apparently, they were running more seriously than I thought. If they were to win or lose, it would be a draw… No, Kisaragi’s timing was earlier, but Shinkai’s team received the baton first. The quality of the second runner made the difference between the two winners.
(What can I say, it was disappointing.”
The two were indeed competing well. However, the baton was passed to the second runner, which made the difference between the winner and the loser. In short, they proved that it’s possible to lose because of your teammates. That’s why I don’t like to group up with others, like in a team competition.
And so the competition continued. Yukihana showed a surprisingly good run and Shinkai’s class put up a good fight, and the two teams were almost evenly matched.
And it was Shinkai’s team that won. The reason for our class’s defeat was probably that the other class had better coordination skills. The anchor Hayama was also quite fast, but lost because he almost dropped his baton in the middle of the race. It was a very disappointing result. This was Hayama’s second defeat in a row.
“Thank you for this precious opportunity, Yuu.”
“Likewise. If we have to compete for real, I won’t lose next time !”
And so Kisaragi headed full speed to the gymnasium, even though she had just run as fast as she could. Come to think of it, that girl is going to participate in the obstacle race too if I’m not mistaken.
（Well, I’m going home.)
It was almost time to go home, so I grabbed my luggage and headed for the entrance. On the way, I passed Yukihana and some students practicing for the relay, but we didn’t exchange any words. I go straight to my locker to change my shoes.
(But I can’t believe Shinkai can compete with Kisaragi that well.)
Kisaragi’s potential as an athlete is all over the place. If she were serious, she could probably dream of entering the professional world of athletes. And Shinkai was putting up a fight more than even with such an opponent in the field.
“You’re getting too excited, idiot.”
I told myself and calmed myself down. I was unexpectedly a little excited to see that match. It was also a surprise that I didn’t predict the outcome.
If this were a horse race, I would have ripped my ticket to shreds. I’ve long since abandoned my passion.
[Hey?I told you so, didn’t I?]
I let the voice in my ear drift away into the void, and headed home under the piercing setting sun.
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