Learning to Swivel
Catcalling and laughter didn't stop me from race walking towards the state championships.
“It’s like walking like a prostitute,” said Coach Horn, describing the sport of racewalking. “You need to move your hips a lot — kind of like an aggressive strut.”
The indoor track team was lined up in a basement hallway to watch Nicole, a senior racewalker, demonstrate the form. She swished up and down the hallway, hips moving like the oars of a rowboat in order to build up speed while obeying the sport’s main rules: One foot must always be on the ground, and the knee must be straight as the heel makes contact. She was confident; she was fluid. Not entirely unlike a streetwalker’s swagger.
Although it offered none of the glory of 100-meter sprints or hurdles, and the swivel-hip motion invited derision at the Olympic level, a first-place finish in the 1500-meter racewalk still earned ten points in a track meet. Most schools veered away from it, offering the girl who mastered the technique a chance to shine.
One by one, each of us submitted to the audition, although none of us were exactl…
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