Wednesday, January 27, 2021

# Apo's Army # birthday

King of the Schoolyard

In honor of my baby turning 20...egads, I no longer have teenagers! How did that happen? Anyway, lol...I wanted to share another story from my upcoming book, Apo's Army

King of the Schoolyard

When we were young, we all knew that being King of the Hill was the highest honor that there was on the school’s playground. Whoever was king got to walk at the front of the line wherever we went. They decided which games we played at lunch. They were the unspoken ruler of our class.


Regal was just a small kitten when he started going to school. Like most kittens, he would watch the recess competitions to see who would win. King of the Hill didn’t happen every recess. It only happened a few times during the year, so whoever won would be king for at least three months. It was a very big deal at our school.


Every time there was a challenge, Regal would be there watching. He really wanted to be king, but you had to be at least a third grader before you were allowed. Third graders never won though. It was almost always a fifth grader. Regal didn’t care though. He practiced whenever he had a chance. Unless there was a competition happening, the hill was empty. Every recess we would watch Regal running up and down it. To become king, you had to be the first cat up the hill.


Regal did this for over a year. He grew bigger and all of the practicing made him really fast. He was so fast that he was the first kitten chosen to be for any race. As soon as someone yelled go, he’d be the first kitten off of the starting line. It didn’t matter if it was a regular race or one that had hurdles. He would fly down the track and always came in first.


When he was in third grade, he knew that it would be his chance to be king. He’d trained for it. He’d worked so hard. He knew that he was ready and that he could win. He just had to wait for lunchtime. The morning seemed to go on forever. He had a hard time paying attention during math and instead was doodling pictures of him running up a big hill. Lunchtime was even harder.  He didn’t want to eat the turkey and gravy that the cafeteria was serving. He just wanted to get outside to race up that giant hill.


As soon as the bell rang to release us from the lunchroom, Regal was the first of us out the door. He ran right to the bottom of the hill and started stretching. Tons of other kittens joined him. A few of us climbed up the hill so that we could judge who made it to the top first. Then, once everyone was in place, a whistle was blown, and the kittens were off!


Some raced as fast as they could, but then slowed down about halfway up the hill. Others took off slowly and actually passed those who slowed down. But, where was Regal? At first we didn’t see him. Then, as the crowd thinned out, we saw him. He had passed those who gave up halfway up and was passing those who had taken off slowly at first. He was already almost to the top!


Then, just as we were all sure that Regal was going to win, a grey cat named Swiffer ran right past him and up to the top! Swiffer was a fifth grader and had won King of the Hill the year before. When Regal got to the top, he was disappointed to see Swiffer there, but still clapped and cheered for him. When I talked to him later, he said there would always be more races and he wasn’t going to give up.


Except Regal didn’t win any of the races that year. Swiffer won every single one of them. We all thought for sure that Regal would give up, but he never did. He kept training and he kept racing. The next year, he was right there at the front of the pack when the whistle blew.


He took his time getting up the hardest part of the hill. Once he got past that though, he took off so fast! He was a cream blur as he ran past the other kittens. As he got to the top, he almost ran right past us and back down the other side but came to a sliding stop just in time. Everyone clapped and cheered for him. He had worked hard and now was king!


In fact, he was the longest reigning king. He was king for all of fourth grade and all of fifth grade. Nobody really minded though because he was always super nice. He listened to everyone and when he had to make a decision, he always thought about what everyone wanted to do. He may be the greatest king that we ever had at our school.


Now that we’re all much older, a lot of us still live near the school. Regal is now in charge of all of us who live in the area and I like to think that he’s such a good leader because of the kind of king of the hill he was all those years ago. Sometimes we sit around and we talk about those days, but mostly Regal is always looking for ways to make our lives better now. 



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