The Race: Part Two

I didn’t write the first one
But I’d like to add my part
For I too have watched a runner’s race
That touched the author’s heart

The boys were small and eager
Their fathers filled with pride
The stands were packed with cheering fans
Each rooting for his side

And then the gun was sounded
The race was under way
The runners pushed with all their might
To try and break away

Each dreamed of running fastest
Of ribbons and of charms
Of crossing first the finish line
And then his father’s arms

Each longed to win the trophy
Be the hero of the hour
To be lifted up on shoulders where
The praise of fans would shower

But as they circled farther
One boy strong and sure
Began to pull away a step
And then a little more

He clearly was the fastest
The race was surely won
He only had to keep the pace
The other boys could run

But still he pushed on faster
Completing the first round
About the time the last place boy
Went tumbling to the ground

And then amidst the fanfare
And the cheering and the pleas
The leader stopped to help the boy
Who had fallen to his knees

His reaction was automatic
As without a second thought
He broke as fast as he had launched
When the starter’s gun was shot

The crowd could scarce believe it
And confused they wondered why
He stayed to brush the small boy off
As the others ran on by

They screamed “Go on! You’ll lose it!”
“If you haven’t lost it now”
But the leader took the time to see
If he could help the boy somehow

And when the leader, now in last
Knew his colleague was all right
He turned and ran so very fast
It approached the speed of light

The roaring crowd grew louder
As he made his move again
To think that he could lose such time
And still come back to win

But midway through the pack once more
On the way to take first place
The leader turned to see his friend
Landing roughly on his face

And in a flash spun around
And ran the other way
He pulled the fallen from the ground
And asked, “Are you okay?”

The clumsy boy just nodded
And embarrassed watched his feet
Because of him his faster friend
Was likely to get beat

But the leader said “Don’t worry”
“Just forget about the fall”
“The race is what’s in front of you”
“We’re going to beat them all”

From that time on they were a team
The fast boy and the slow
The leader only jogged the pace
The other boy could go

And side by side they ran the race
Until they neared the end
Then the leader slowed his step a bit
To finish just behind his friend

Another boy crossed finish first
Then a second and a third
But the cheers that met the last toy boys
Were the loudest ever heard

“Don’t look back; you’ve got them”
Cry the voices all around
But then I see the leader stop
To lift his neighbor from the ground

The race is won by winners, true
The quickest to the end
But champions are those who stop
To help a struggling friend