Everyone in the neighborhood wanted to have a drone like mine. They said it was the most sophisticated of all the drones in the hood. Some said I do not know the use of it and they should have had mine while I had theirs.
They even said I ought to be winning all the drone races I got into. Perhaps they were right. I had never won a race since I started competing with the drone. The truth is, I had always tried to be careful with the Jk 159 classic drone that had cost me half of my life savings.
When I first bought the drone, it was never for racing. It was for a big idea I had then that never came to see the light of day. So, for now, I used the drone to take some aerial shot with the hope that they would be useful in the future when I finally kick start my project. And I also use it for this illegal race I had never won, but the truth was, I have always been careful with the drone. ‘It will be of more use someday,’ I always told myself.
Perhaps, if I had held to that thinking and didn’t go out of my way, maybe things would have remained the same, or even worked out like I hoped it would someday.
It was at the beginning of another year. By then I had been using the drone for over five months. I packed it each time neatly after use just like the way I first met it in the box when I bought it. A friend I met at a drone race called on me at my house one day that I had been selected for a special game that would hold at the national park.
At first, I was skeptic about flying my drone in a wooded environment, but when he said the top prize was $500, I decided to give it another thought. $500 could go a long way to help kick start my project.
“Why would they consider me for an invitation? I have not even won a race before,” I said.
“They did not invite you, bro, they invited your drone,” he said bluntly. “You have one of the best drones in town, what do you think? That alone qualifies you for a lot of things that you don’t know and have never heard before.”
As much as I hate to admit, he was saying the truth. I often think that I was not doing enough for my dream. That I enjoyed too much of my comfort zone and was too scared to go out there and face the world. I played too much by the book and waited for things to happen. His words brought back those feelings and thoughts I have had and tried to bury in the pit of fear.
Perhaps it is time to start doing some spontaneous things and stop being conventional, I thought to myself. I needed to do things for my dream, probably things I never thought I would do. If things did not work out, I would make sure I worked things out.
When I thought about those last words, I decided it was a good motto to adopt, and I repeated it over and over until I brought my notepad out and scribbled the words into it.
Perhaps this competition is a good place to start. I decided I had been too careful, and it was not only with my drone but with every other thing in my life. If being careful does not help, then maybe I needed to live more freely. Just like in a football match, if a formation does not work, the manager tended to apply another formation to break the other team.
I won’t play by the book anymore. I made up my mind.
“How do I sign up?” I asked my friend on the other line.
“Come to the park later in the day, and you will get the information you need,” he replied and hung up.
That end of the conversation made the hairs at the back of my handstand. That sounded a bit sketchy. It was what we usually see in a movie before a character is lured to a quiet place where he will be beaten and robbed, or even murdered. But those were just movies, I guess. Moreover, I had decided to start getting off my butt.
I went to the park in the evening and saw a few drone owners like me gathered at the side of the park. They seemed to be listening to someone speak at the middle. I joined them and was handed a pamphlet and a form to fill immediately.
THE ULTIMATE DRONE RACE. I read in the pamphlet. That was the title of the competition. The man in the middle of the park addressing the drone owners spoke about the sponsors of the race, the price attached and where the race was going to happen. The price attracted me, $500 was a good one for me. He needed not to say more, because at that very moment I was ready to sign up.
A month was between when I signed up and the main event. I was sure they had settled the authorities in town to let the competitors fly the drone in that particular area for the day. Edmund Park was not a place that allowed for drone flying until that day.
I had practiced for a long time because for the first time I had the drive to want to win a race. After completing three stages, I was one of the six finalists competing for the crown. Two of them had won in a competition I had been before, and they seemed astounded that I was one of the finalists.
I started well at the finals, trailing just two drones in the final race, but I was gaining well on the one closest to me in the second place. If it was one of race tactics, I did not know. He made me follow him, focus on him and all of a sudden, he switched and faced his drone to mine. Before I could control it, I was facing a tree. My drone hit the tree and crashed badly. It was the end of everything.