5 times round the rugby field." ordered Mr.Schnell, Mr. fast, a suitable name for that impressive, tall, scrawny man, with blond hair. I saw the muscles, quivering in his arms and legs, like hawsers, expanding and contracting,
I never saw him run, unless to chase some miserable individual, like me making him move fast. I had the dubious honor of having my rear end imprinted with the mark of the illustrious Mr.Schnell's tacky.
The words "Run Gork, Run" reminded me of a song I liked listening to on one of the old 78rpm records my mother had kept from the days when she was a teenager, in Springs, in the 1930's, "Run Rabbit, Run."
I hesitated, thinking, considering should I or shouldn't I, an admirable quality in a student of history, but a disaster in athletics.
At such a moment, my bottom burning, all thought escaped me and I ran for dear life. 5 times round the rugby ground. Although I earned a prize of a red welt, I was proud of myself.
I considered my mad run an accomplishment. I am aware, however, for some athletic types, like my friend Victor, that was hardly an effort worth mentioning. But I was not in Victor's class. He was a champion cricket player. I had great admiration for his ability to carry out a flying tackle, in rugby. His greatest attainment, however was in throwing the javelin. He was Achilles reincarnate.
I could never have been like Victor. He acted out of a kind of animal instinct. He did not stop to think whether an action on the sports field was worthwhile or not. The thing had to be done, no more said.
Now, thinking back on my schooldays, I realize, this was the aim of the South African education system. To educate people to act spontaneously, on instruction or out of necessity, without thought. The need or the order was the motivation and one carried out the action.
Later I studied Psychology and learned about Piaget's experiments with mice, on a wheel, which they rotated, either at will or on hearing a bell. The bell became the stimulus, each time they heard the ring, they began rotating.
These poor creatures had been lured into this experiment by means of a piece of tasty cheese, at the opening of their dark, but cozy nest, where they had been living happily, with their parents and brothers and sisters. I can't blame them for being tempted away from such coziness, I too love cheese and easily luring me into trouble, as young master Mice.
Now he spent the rest of his life reacting to the sound of a bell.
In my opinion every boy, cornered into spontaneous action by Mr. Schnell's instructions is like Piaget's little mouse.
My hesitation was caused by doubting my abilities. This kind of thought never entered a mouse's head. He does what he's told, whether the teacher, orders him to run, or his mother, tells him to eat his breakfast, without asking why or wherefore.
Today nobody stands behind me, with a tacky, pushing me to accomplish achievements.
Now the thought comes to my mind: Subconsciously I've been searching for someone like Mr.Schnell.