“I’m sorry, but the Speeders are currently celebrating their victory. I can’t have you go in there,” said Quickly.
“It’s okay, Coach, let him in. We can answer a couple of questions,” Rapidly said brightly.
“You sure? We all know what this is going to be about.” Coach Quickly was right to be concerned. Not all media attention is good attention.
“I know, Coach, and we want to talk about it. I mean come on, we are Marbula 1 champions!!” Rapidly turned to face me. “I take it you want to know why I helped Wospy, don’t you? Shouldn’t you be more interested in the winner, Billy of the Green Ducks?” he said with a chuckle. He rolled out of the way and opened the door to let me in.
As I rolled into the locker room, I was greeted by Speedy and the rest of the team, who had come to chat after the race. As I took my seat, I replied that I was interested in talking about why Rapidly aided Wospy, but that the question could wait.
Rapidly took his seat, and when Coach Quickly closed the door, Rapidly nearly collapsed into his chair, but Speedy and Swifty were quickly by his side. It was then I realized Rapidly helping Wospy and getting second place while fending off Smoggy didn’t come without its price.
“Rapidly, throughout the race we saw some rather unorthodox maneuvers, unorthodox maneuvers that other racers weren’t doing, such as racing down the catwalk as opposed to choosing one of the other sides. Was that something you and Speedy practiced?”
Rapidly paused and then laughed.
“To be honest with you, that’s something I kind of did on the fly.”
After answering everyone in the locker room started laughing.
“Seriously?!?” I asked as shock stretched across my face.
“Yeah, if you look at the replay of the race you can see that at lap two, Smoggy had a commanding lead and I needed to do something to catch up. However, I had Wospy on my tail and Billy out in front. I couldn’t take the inside and hope that I could battle it out with Wospy and Billy and win, and I couldn’t take the outside because that would’ve added too much time. So if I couldn’t go left and I couldn’t go right, I thought ‘I’ll just go straight over the top,’ and that’s what I did. This allowed me to maintain my speed, put a nice little gap between me and Wospy, and catch up to Billy.”
I am still shocked to think that the move that Rapidly did, the expertly timed, perfectly executed move that allowed him to get a break in the fight for second, was a move he did on a whim.
“Billy must have felt the pressure because he poured on the speed going into lap 4 and never let up.” Rapidly paused as all the laughing came to a stop and the locker room got quiet. I broke the silence with the question that needed to be answered.
“Why did you help Wospy, and how does everyone feel about your choice to do so?”
There was another pause from Rapidly. He took a deep breath and sighed.
“It was around turn three when I noticed the yellow flag and then it showed the replay of Wospy falling on the jumbotron. At first, I thought the safety marble would knock him loose and he would get moving again. However, coming out of turn six I saw the replay, showing the safety marble failing to reach Wospy. My mind immediately went back to the 2018 Marble League and all the injuries Team Momo sustained. I started to slow down so I could see if they would be able to send out another safety marble before we got there, but Billy was going too fast and there was no way they would be able to in time.”
I remembered right after the sand portion Rapidly did in fact begin to decelerate. Ironically enough, the 2018 Marble League was the year the Midnight Wisps beat the Savages Speeders by one point. I wondered, if Wospy ever found out that the memory of that tournament was what made Rapidly help him out, what would he say? I refocused on Rapidly.
“Once I realized that help wasn’t coming, I sped back up to try and get to the straight away before most of the group of racers got there. Once there, I slowed back down and got over and helped out Wospy.”
I was stunned that Rapidly figured all of this out in the heat of the moment and then helped in such a way that protected not just Wospy, but everyone else on the field.
“I’m surprised no one got hurt,” I said.
“Well, it was quite dangerous,” Rapidly says. “Limelime nearly collided into me and Wospy right after I helped him.” I turned and looked at Rapidly’s teammates and asked them what they thought of Rapidly’s decision to help Wospy. They all turned to each other, and then to Rapidly, and then everyone turned to Coach Quickly.
Coach Quickly rolled over to Rapidly, turned to me and said “I couldn’t be prouder of him. He showed great sportsmanship out there and then, he rolled himself to the point of collapse to bring in second, all while fighting off Smoggy. Good deeds aren’t cheap, and he paid the toll.”
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