Driving with an Exhaust System

The short-statured teen had been pushing the weighted sled down the field for what seemed like hours, maybe days. Despite all exhaustive efforts, it had barely budged at all – much like the fiery midday sun that was cruelly beating down upon him, roasting his pink flesh in the middle of this heated summer workout. He grunted forcefully – twice for good measure, certain this would assist him in moving the stubborn metal runners that had gotten caught in the thick clumps of grass.

His teammates stood around the water hose, their cool refreshment obvious as they grabbed sips of spurting water, unhelmeted like gladiators returning from the battlefield. Their cheerful babbling of success amongst themselves was unnerving.

In utter frustration from the unfairness of others getting to watch his suffering without appreciation of the grueling effort, the pudgy boy finally threw up his hands to the heavens and gasped, “Could I, at the very least, get some encouragement from over there, guys?!”

A tall, lean, muscular, athletic sort stepped forward, swinging his helmet to his side. “We’ve decided that to cheer you on any more would be senseless, Dirfner. That’s an idea we don’t plan to exhaust any longer.” The captain of the football team turned and gave a nod towards the most intimidating members of the team.

Young Dirfner was so distraught with his task, he never noticed the entire offensive line approaching him from behind – at least not until he felt himself being pushed atop the sled and driven forward for the remaining 95 yards up the field.

He was further taken aback when his gratitude was answered with a gruff, “Just don’t forget this day a few years from now,” from the massive, otherwise unapproachable 300-pound center. But nothing could’ve been more shocking than when, after practice, Dirfner’s coach was waiting for him outside the locker room – with a picture of that same center in his freshman year…all 99 pounds or so of him.

Exhaust Encouragement

Exhaust all manner of Encouragement


Trifecta’s prompt for this week is:

EXHAUST (transitive verb)
1a : to consume entirely : use up <exhausted our funds in a week>
b : to tire extremely or completely <exhausted by overwork>
c : to deprive of a valuable quality or constituent <exhaust a photographic developer>
2a : to draw off or let out completely
b : to empty by drawing off the contents; specifically : to create a vacuum in
3a : to consider or discuss (a subject) thoroughly or completely  

Please remember:
  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  • Only one entry per writer.
  • Trifecta is open to everyone.  Please join us.

20 thoughts on “Driving with an Exhaust System

  1. I really liked this, very nice. I thought they were going to bully him or make fun of him or something even worse. It was nice to read the end. I don’t think people are like this in real life though, especially highschoolers and even more so football team members…

    • Thanks for your kind words, Scriptor. I believe the leadership of any team forms the basis of its structure, and I’ve experienced both types of team dynamics (what you’ve described and the story I offered). Mentoring is an element that wields great power in forming people of greatness. Oh, that coaches/teachers/leaders of all sorts would learn to tap into that power.

  2. I really enjoyed this story and was so relieved that the team acted as a team. I also really liked the comparison of the sled to the sun that wasn’t budging in the sky. Well done!

    • thank you, Bee, for listening to the detail of the story. In my experiential opinion, a team is never truly a team until its members learn to come together to build one another up. And when they do, it’s a thing of beauty!

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