A slip of the finger

It was a rare British autumnal afternoon in Datchworth Green. The weather was sunny, not too warm, and with very little breeze. The village green had been developed as an athletics field to a very high standard. A nearby resident, Hugo Weatherall, had invested part of his lottery winnings to create this sports ground, equipped for all athletic disciplines as well as some purpose-built pavilions. These were fitted with the latest training equipment designed to develop a new generation of young athletes.

Another portion of Hugo’s lottery winnings had been allocated to an annual athletics championship each September. The winners of a number of events were awarded scholarships. This enabled them to spend several months each year with a professional coach, travel to a number of competitions throughout the UK, and hopefully, regional or national team selection.

Development of the green at Datchworth came with restrictions. None of the surrounding countryside of thick forests and green pastures could be touched. Hence, on most Saturdays, gunfire could still be heard in the distance as a local shooting group fired away at pigeons and other birds in the area.

A month after the conclusion of the London 2012 Olympic Games, Billy Potter, aged 17, was busy practising his 200 metre sprints. He had high hopes of winning an athletics scholarship that could lead him to an exciting career in track events. It might take him to places all over the world as part of the British team. Sadly, he had been told by his local coach that he would have to improve his start- time out of the blocks if he wanted to win this event and gain a scholarship.

On this particular Saturday in September, the Datchworth Shooters were holding their annual prize competition. It was held several hundred yards behind the thick forest encircling the athletics green. Billy’s older brother, Darren, aged 20, was hoping to win their trophy and a priceless new rifle. He had been close to winning previous contests but had never finished better than third. Now, for this year’s contest, he was shooting very well. At 3.15 pm, he fired his last shot by slipping his finger on the trigger. Bang!

“I’ve WON, at last!!”, shouted Darren. “After all these years, I’ll get a new gun and see my name engraved on the trophy.”

At precisely the same time on the nearby athletics arena, Billy was crouched in his blocks in the inside lane for the start of this year’s 200 metres final.

“On, your marks,……..Get set…..,” cried the starter.

Before Billy heard the starting pistol, he actually heard a bang from behind the forest. He flew out of his blocks at the same time as the starting pistol went off. He raced round the inside lane, at his fastest speed ever – and WON!!

“I’ve WON, at last!!” shrieked Billy. “Now, I’ll be running around the world, who knows where?”

When he arrived home later that afternoon, he explained to Darren about his win and his forthcoming scholarship.

“You’re a lucky devil,” explained Darren. “It must have been the slip of my finger, on me rifle, that got you started out of your blocks first!’