My first cross country rehearsal as a clown (class one boy) was greeted with so much enthusiasm, bated in the hope it would be an adventure of sightseeing the countryside and attracting the cheers of spectating indigents of communities through which our race would navigate or crisscross. Obviously, my confidence was simply fueled by sheer ignorance of the actual distance of the racecourse as I would later realize.
Back to the start point of the racecourse, which was situated at the intersecting road between Bravo and Alpha company, the race was kicked off with a shouting order by the Boy CSM. On hearing the order, I responded with a spurt, tearing through the racing crowd of mates and seniors to emerge with the frontrunners, combusting enormous calories and inhaling massive gusts of oxygen, not realizing how short-lived my pursuit for competitive glory would soon total into a nightmare.
Barely 5 minutes into the race and few meters past "Koye", the famed "buns village", my energy had ebbed, necessitating that I slowed down or halted completely to catch my breath, which I did intermittently, leaving me with a few other "academy black tortoises" like myself far behind to saunter through the remaining course of the race, so we thought. No sooner had I along with the few like me started enjoying our stroll did Boy L/CPL Tony Bassey and Boy L/CPL Abdulwahab came from the rear, grabbing my left and right hands each to pull me along, compelling me to run at their faster paces, pushing my body beyond its familiar limit.
When I could no longer bear the strain and fatigue induced by running at their pace, my discretion kicked in as I began to appeal to them to allow me to rest to catch my breath, please sir! please sir! I pleaded in a hushed tone, but all fell on deaf ears. As we raced on, onlookers noticed the struggle I was experiencing in maintaining pace and reasoning out with these seniors, prompting many of them to weigh in with chattering appeals as we ran along. Sensing that my situation was attracting increasing voiced compassion from onlookers, I changed my tactics to screaming out aloud "ALLOW ME TO DIE" with all the fire in my body about three times in order to embarrass these seniors into letting go of me to complete the race at my own pace and time. Alas, it worked. They left me off instantly without a word, leaving me behind to glee over my false sense of victory.
Now left alone, I strutted through the remaining length of the race from the Sabo part of town leading to the depot gate (near the graveyard) to NMS gate, down to the road leading to my company, Alpha company. Immediately I crossed the gutter divide to my company, a voice shouted out "You, that bastard, come here!". Lo and behold, it was Tony Bassey, who had been patiently waiting for my royal arrival. He called out to his compadre, with whom they both unleashed hell on my laps and back feet with the T-Square instrument. The punishment will best be captured as a "BRUTAL INDOCTRINATION SESSION".