Dylan dreaded P.E. class, and especially the annual fitness test.
Dylan felt a familiar knot in his stomach. Ten more minutes until time for P.E. I hate that class, he thought. Every day I drag in there, dreading the next hour.
He knew how it would go. When they played basketball he was always the last one chosen for the team. He didn’t blame anyone for not wanting him on a team because he could never make a basket. He couldn’t even dribble the ball the way they did. Baseball was no better. Try as he would, it seemed he could never connect the bat with the ball.
Today would be even worse than usual. He’d wished he could be sick enough to stay home, but he woke up feeling fine. This was the big day when all three P.E. classes met for the fitness test. Today, the eyes of everyone in those three classes would be watching him.
As Dylan put his hand on the gym door, he wished for the thousandth time that he were somewhere else. But there was nothing to do but go in. Eventually, he managed to arrive at the track in his gym clothes, and with the knot in his stomach tighter than ever.
The teacher blew the whistle and announced they would begin with the 400-meter dash. The gun sounded. Dylan started around the track. Before he was halfway his sides ached and his breath cut his chest like a knife.
By the time he came to the last quarter of the race he saw that practically everyone else was finished. As he willed himself to put one foot in front of the other someone else slowly pulled up beside him. Glancing to his right, he saw Chase Turner. Chase must be having as much trouble as I am, he thought. They finished together as the three classes clapped for them. How embarrassing! Dylan walked away with his head hanging. But Chase managed a laugh, and gasped out, “Last but not least!”
Dylan was amazed. He’d always admired Chase because he had so many friends. He seemed to be having a good time whenever Dylan saw him in the halls or after school. Dylan always just assumed that Chase was good at everything. But here in P.E. Chase didn’t seem to be any better than he was.
As the afternoon wore on and the fitness tests were completed one by one, Dylan saw that Chase was, indeed, no better than he was. The two of them seemed to finish everything last. Even so, Chase never lost his smile or his ability to laugh. As they sat and waited for the final event of the day, Dylan asked him, “How can you always laugh even when we’re last? I hate every minute of this class. I don’t even feel like smiling, much less laughing!”
Chase grinned at Dylan and said, “I have a couple of secrets. Want to hear what they are?”
“Sure, I’ll listen to anything that will help,” Dylan answered.
“I always remember one thing during P.E.—I’m not going to be in this class forever. And when I graduate, what difference will it make if I was always last in P.E.?
Dylan mumbled, “Well, yeah . . . I guess you’re right there. What’s your other secret?”
Chase looked a little more serious as he said, “I have Jesus Christ in my heart. I know He can help me do whatever I have to do. ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’ I might not be able to do all things the most quickly, but with the Lord’s help I can get through them.”
Just then it was their turn to go, and for the final time that day, the two boys endured one more event.
As Dylan walked back to the locker room, he thought about what Chase had said. Who would have ever thought religion would help in a P.E. class? But it just might make some sense. Chase seemed to be happy in any situation. Maybe, just maybe, I should learn a little bit more about Chase’s second secret.