Monday, May 5, 2014

"The Bigger They Are," a #YA Short Story

Douglas Winslow Cooper and Brian Maher

Near the end of their junior year, members of the junior class ran for president of the student government, to run the organization in the senior year. Rick’s friend Pete was running and was likely to win. At first, no other junior seemed willing to run, which made Rick think maybe he would try.

In each of the prior three years, Pete had been class president and Rick class vice-president. Not best friends, but good friends, both guys seemed satisfied with this. Rick had second thoughts now.

“Dad, I’m thinking of running against Pete for student government president. Do you think I should?”

“If it wouldn’t make an enemy of Pete, why not? You might even ask him.”

The next day, Rick did just that, and Pete said he did not mind at all, that it would make it more interesting. Rick was pleased, although he got the feeling that Pete was confident he would beat Rick easily.

Both guys were athletes, Rick a good player on the basketball team, Pete a star on the football team. Both were good students, though Rick was better. Both guys were popular, Pete somewhat more so than Rick. Both had roles in the Junior Play. Rick tooted the tuba in the band and Pete sang tenor in the chorus. Item by item, they were closely matched, although Pete’s history of being class president every year gave him an edge over Rick.

“Why do you want to run, Rick?” his mother asked him.

“”I’d like to be first this time, rather than second, and it would look good on my college applications. I do think I would be good at the job. I’m better organized and work somewhat harder. Also, it seems a shame not to have the election be a contest.”

An assembly was held, with both candidates giving short speeches, each offering a few suggestions for improvement of the student government organization. Rick used humor. Pete used charm. Both received warm applause.

Tess decided to help Rick, which he appreciated. She drew some posters with their campaign slogan, “Pick Rick,” and a list of his school activities and his proposals. Pete had posters, too, “Pete’s neat,“ not quite as well done, but not bad.

The morning of the election, Rick met the incoming students at the school front door, shaking hands, handing out “Pick Rick” fliers. Pete was nowhere to be found. In fact, Rick heard that Pete thought he would beat Rick without much effort. While some students thought Rick was taking the election too seriously, more thought it showed that he really wanted the position and would do a good job.

The election was held Thursday. At dinner that night, the family discussed it. The results would be announced the next day.

“Rick, you put in some extra effort, you ‘went the extra mile,’ in campaigning, and I think it will pay off,” his mother said, patting him on the shoulder. “They say, ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way.’”

“Thanks, Mom.”

His father said, “We’ll see. Pete has been Big Man on Campus these past few years, class president each time, a football star, too. Maybe he has gotten over-confident.”

Friday morning, the announcement came over the school intercom, “The President of the Student Government Association for next year will be…Rick Williams.”

Many students, including Pete, congratulated Rick, who was elated.

Once home, Rick rushed to tell his parents the outcome. His dad smiled and said, “The saying is ‘the bigger they are…the harder they fall.’ Congratulations, champ.”

Rick’s mother hugged him but cautioned, “Don’t get too cocky, Rick, remember the Bible warning: ‘pride goeth before the fall.’”


One of our series of 50 instructional short stories for students. 

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