“That’s it Wendy.” “No, no, Tiffany. Keep your head up. Smile, girls, smile.” Being the cheerleader sponsor took a lot of hard work but it kept my mind busy. “Gooooooo Bulldogs! Clap, clap. Beeeeeeeeeat Wildcats.” The girls sure look like they’re enjoying themselves. I took a look around. The football players are definitely enjoying the cheerleaders. I can’t believe how skimpy they make the costumes now a days. If my Mom had seen me in something like that, I would have been grounded for a week. I sighed audibly. Mom. I still had not gotten over her untimely death. Sometimes I felt like I had to grow up too fast.
I turned back toward the stands. There was Linda, standing next to one of the barrels filled with burning wood. The coaches set up the barrels to provide heat for the spectators. It was hard to believe that autumn was already here. The cool nip in the air testified to the change in seasons.
“Felicia. Over here!”
“I’m coming. Don’t get your knickers in a bundle.” Linda’s long brown hair was bouncing up and down as she continued jumping and waving for me to join her. “Okay girls, take five.” I watched as some of the girls headed toward the bench area, others collapsed spread-eagled on the grass, huffing and puffing like I had killed them. Great. Now I’ve got grass stains to contend with.
I headed toward the stands where Linda was still jumping and waving. “Okay, I’m coming.” Patience was not one of Linda’s strong suits. At the ripe old age of 50, Linda had returned home to Edwin. Principal Stewart assigned me to be her mentor during the harrowing first year of teaching.
“Well, what do you think?” I pointed at the now giggling girls. They were staring and pointing at the ball players flexing their muscles. Looks like they’re being “entertained.”
“Your cheerleaders are really great. The long hours you’ve put in with them has really paid off.” “Back when I was in high school, the main qualifications for cheerleader were family connections and a large set of ‘lungs’. Some of those stunts your girls are doing look like Olympic gymnastics routines. “
“Thanks Linda.” I pointed to where I saw Robert standing on the sidelines across the field. “Speaking of boys…” The muscular middle-aged man wore black parachute pants and a George Washington purple polo shirt. Robert worked as the school resource officer in his time off from his full time job as one of Edwin County’s Sheriff Deputies.
Linda’s face turned red and she pulled her hoodie up over her head. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
I physically grabbed Linda by the shoulders and turned her so that she faced him. Then I gave her a little push in the back. She stumbled forward.
“Dang it Felicia.”
Just then, a young woman walked up and joined Robert. Her raven black hair was pulled back in a long braid that reached down to her waist. She wore skin tight jeans and a black lacy off-the-shoulder top. She was another Sheriff Deputy, Autumn, Robert’s partner.
Linda’s turned back to face me with a sad frown. “See. She’s everywhere with him. And what’s up with that top? Reminds me of Flash Dance.”
“What’s a Flash Dance?” Sometimes Linda comes up with the strangest references. It’s like I need a dictionary to translate her “middle age speak”. “They’re probably talking shop anyway.”
Linda waved her right arm toward the ground.“Oh Felicia, never mind.”
We heard Robert’s hearty laugh as it carried across the field. Autumn smiled and touched Robert’s hand.
“Yeah, right Felicia. That really sounds like shop. talk”
“Are you ladies going to join us at the pizza parlor after the rally?”
Linda and I turned around and saw Coach Faulkner. His face was lit up with an ear to ear grin. The young football coach wore his fall football outfit, purple wind pants and gold polo shirt with the George Washington insignia embroidered over his left breast. Wisps of wavy blonde hair curled around the edges of his purple cap. His muscular frame mirrored that of his players.
I thought it was an excellent and timely idea. Maybe we can cheer Linda up. “Sure Gary, that sounds great.”
“Felicia, I’ll meet ya’ll there. I’ve got to get some papers from my room.” Linda started off toward the main campus.
“Wait a minute. I’ll go with you. Wait here. Just let me wrap it up with the girls.” I headed back to the field where the ball players and cheerleaders had broken up into small groups, talking and laughing.
“All right gang. Looks like this party’s breaking up. Practice Monday right after school.” “And, tell your moms to make sure the grass stains are out before putting the uniforms in the dryer. If they get set by that heat, we’ll never get them clean.” I watched as the laughing and giggling teens headed off to their cars.
“Okay, Linda. Let’s go get those papers.” I turned around to where Linda had been standing and she was gone. Good grief. We’re Definitely going to have to work on that girl’s patience. I started off toward Linda’s trailer.