Second Wind (Spirit of the Game Series #3)

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9780310706700: Second Wind (Spirit of the Game Series #3)

Track season's here and fourteen-year-old long distance runner Cody Martin is determined to finish the race, both on and off the track. It seems Cody can't run fast enough to put sufficient distance between himself and his dad's new girlfriend, or the undeserved enemies that threaten him. Through it all, Cody learns the importance of relationships with other Christians and with a God who provides a second wind---just when you need it most.

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About the Author:

Todd Hafer, a Christy Awards finalist, has written more than 30 books. He was a four-year varsity letterman in high school and went on to compete in cross country and track in college. He still competes in marathons and triathlons and is a member of Hallmark Cards' Corporate Challenge track team.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

This book is dedicated to the life and memory of Tim Hanson, a true athlete, a true friend. www.zonderkidz.com Second Wind Copyright 2004 by Todd Hafer Requests for information should be addressed to: Zonderkidz, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Hafer, Todd. Second wind / by Todd Hafer. p. cm.--(The spirit of the game, sports fiction series) Summary: Fourteen-year-old Cody faces the challenge of track and field, a school bully, and his father's new girlfriend. ISBN 0-310-70670-X (softcover) [1. Christian life---Fiction. 2. Friendship---Fiction. 3. Track and field--- Fiction.] I. Title. PZ7.H11975Se 2004 [Fic]--dc22 2004012664 All Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version (NIV). Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means---electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other---except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher. Zonderkidz is a trademark of Zondervan. Editor: Bruce Nuffer Cover design Alan Close Interior design: Susan Ambs Art direction: Laura Maitner Photos by Synergy Photographic Printed in the United States of America 04 05 06 07 08/.DC/5 4 3 2 1 Foreword I love sports. I have always loved sports. I have competed in various sports at various levels, right through college. And today, even though my official competitive days are behind me, you can still find me on the golf course, working on my game, or on a basketball court, playing a game of pick-up. Sports have also helped me learn some of life's important lessons--lessons about humility, risk, dedication, teamwork, friendship. Cody Martin, the central character in 'The Spirit of the Game' series, learns these lessons too. Some of them, the hard way. I think you'll enjoy following Cody in his athletic endeavors. Like most of us, he doesn't win every game or every race. He's not the best athlete in his school, not by a long shot. But he does taste victory, because, as you'll see, he comes to understand that life's greatest victories aren't reflected on a scoreboard. They are the times when you rely on a strength beyond your own ---a spiritual strength---to carry you through. They are the times when you put the needs of someone else before your own. They are the times when sports become a way to celebrate the life God has given you. So read on, and may you always possess the true Spirit of the Game. Toby McKeehan This is way worse than running suicides, Martin,' Bart Evans groaned. 'This is the kind of thing that could kill a guy for real! Dude, I thought he was tough as a hoops coach. But this is, like, another level of pain.' Eighth grader Cody Martin nodded grimly. I'd rather run a hundred suicides than do this, he thought. Why did I let Coach Clayton talk me into this? He rose up from his saddle as the road steepened. Each downstroke on the pedals of his 12-speed felt as if it would be his last. His quads burned, like they had been soaked in acid. 'If I peddle any slower,' he mumbled, 'I'll start going back downhill. I can't believe Coach made this sound fun.' Bart snorted weakly. 'Coach Clayton is the devil. 'Scenic ride,' my foot, which is aching so bad I want to cut it off, by the way. 'Majestic ride, carving right through a historic Colorado mountain pass. Breathtaking rock walls so close to the road's edge you can reach out and touch them.'' 'Well,' Cody offered, 'it would be scenic, if we weren't blinded by pain.' The duo grew silent as they rounded a switchback and were hit by a stiff wind. I should have suspected something when Coach Clayton dodged Gage's question, Cody thought. Gage McClintock, the track team's best 400-meter runner, had asked the distance coach, 'Mountain pass, eh? I don't like the sound of that. How steep a mountain are we talkin' here?' Coach Clayton, a six-foot-four scarecrow of a man, had laughed derisively. 'Mac, don't be such a wimp. It's only a fourteen-mile ride. We're not talking about a leg of the Tour de stinkin' France. Not even a toe of the Tour de France. For cryin' out loud, I'm doin' the ride on my old mountain bike. You guys all have road bikes, so quit your whinin'.' 'Besides,' he added with a wink, 'when we finish up in Woodland Park, I'm gonna buy you the best donuts anywhere. And then we get to ride down. I'm tellin' ya---you'll feel like you're flyin'!' Flyin'? Cody thought. A snail could crawl faster than this. I'm gonna topple over any second now, I just know it. It's just a matter of physics. It's not possible for a bike to go this slow. Cody knew that if he crashed, he was going to leave significant portions of his hide on Ute Pass. His cycling shoes were locked firmly in the toe clips, and he wouldn't have the time or energy to release them, especially if he biffed when he was up off the saddle. He raised his head to study the terrain ahead. His heart deflated like a balloon. Just ahead was the meanest hill of the ride. It has to be two hundred yards long, Cody thought. And it's straight up, no switchbacks! He heard himself whimper. Bart had pulled ten yards ahead of him moments earlier, but now Cody saw him maneuver his bike off the shoulder and execute an ungainly dismount. As he stood on the roadside, his legs buckled, and he had to lean on his bike for support. 'Forget this,' Bart spat, as Cody ground by him. 'I'm walking my bike up that monster hill. I'll walk it all the way to Woodland Park if I have to. My quads are Jell-O, dude.' 'And if I live through this,' he called to Cody as the distance between them stretched, 'I'm gonna be a sprinter. No more of this distance stuff for me. It's too doggoned hard!' Bart Evans, a sprinter? Cody smiled. I don't think so. If you had any speed, dawg, you wouldn't be here. As Cody hit the hill's halfway point, he heard Bart again, his voice faraway and hollow--- 'What are you trying to prove anyway, Martin? What are you trying to proooove?' I hate you Bart, he laughed to himself, grimly. I was just about to get off my bike and walk too, and you have to go and say something like that. Now I have to keep going. What am I trying to prove? I don't know, but I guess I'll figure that out when I get to the top. If I get to the top. He was two-thirds up the hill now. He shifted his weight to his left and drove the pedal down, hoping to generate enough momentum to bring his foot back to the top position again. As he completed a slow revolution, his front wheel wobbled. Panic rippled through his body. The panic was followed by a welcome rush of adrenaline ---or maybe it was sunstroke. In either case, he clenched his jaw and willed himself to pick up his cadence. I don't know if I'll ever get to the top of this hill, he resolved, but I'll eat asphalt before I get off and walk. Cody closed his eyes and uttered a two-word prayer, 'Strength---please.' Then he blinked a drop of sweat from his left eye and began straining against the hill. Only fifty yards to go, but I am so worked. He slumped back to his saddle. Can't stay up anymore ---legs will cramp if I do. But down on the saddle, I can't generate---any---power. Just as he was ready to give up, Cody felt a strong hand in the middle of his back, pushing him ahead. For a moment, he didn't have to strain alone against gravity and fatigue. Some benevolent force was aiding him. Okay, I'm pretty sure this is a miracle, he thought. He glanced skyward. When I begged for help, I didn't expect you to send a miracle, Lord, just a little more muscle power. But I'm glad you did. Thanks.

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