Leigh Anne - Chapter 8
by Barbara Lynn Terry
I got up about five minutes before my alarm went off. I stepped in to my slippers, threw my robe on and grabbed my bath caddy. I went to take my shower. Mom had gotten me a couple bars of perfume soap, and one of those was lavender while the other was rose. I used the lavender. I put on my shower cap, and made sure my hair was tucked in as best as it could be. I then brushed my teeth, and by then the water was warm enough to get under. I soaped down and rinsed off. I turned off the water and got out of the shower. I got a soft terry towel out of the cabinet and patted down. I looked at my legs and saw they would be able to stand the day. I went to my room to get dressed.
I had another green and white tennis outfit, but this one was a green top with a white over black top with green piping and a black tennis skirt that had sewn in glitch pants. The skirt had two front pockets (the girls need some place to keep the extra ball). The white over black top conformed to the tennis regulations because it had green piping. After getting into her sports bra, top, skirt, and socks and shoes, Leigh went downstairs after folding the tops of her socks down.
As she went in the kitchen, she noticed her mother was making a full breakfast of pancakes, sausage patties, with milk and juice for Leigh. Leigh, knowing arguing wasn't going to pay, sat down and waited for her breakfast.
"Leigh, You need a regular breakfast today, just in case you have to play for one reason or another."
The reason Leigh and her mother got along is, because they didn't argue. They disagreed, but then they talked about why they disagreed with each other. Leigh was a good daughter, and her mother was going to make sure that Leigh would be the girl they were expecting when Leigh was born. Being accepted as a girl on a girls varsity tennis squad was proof that Leigh is where she should be. There was only one problem; Leigh missed her early childhood as a girl, but she was not going to miss her teen years as a girl.
When she was finished eating, she rinsed her dishes, gave her mother a hug and kiss on the cheek, said I love you and headed out the door, with her tennis racquets and her book bag.
Leigh waited for Patty's mom to come and get her. She didn't have long to wait. Mrs. Langston parked in front of Leigh's house and Leigh got in the car. She buckled her seat belt.
"Good morning, Mrs. Langston, Patty, Darlene."
"Good morning, Leigh," they all said, together.
Mrs. Langston made sure that Leigh's seat belt was fastened and drove to the school.
"Thank you Mrs. Langston."
"You're welcome, Leigh. I will be back this afternoon to watch the rest of the tournament. Have a good day, girls."
They all got out of the car, and Patty hugged and kissed her mom on the cheek. They went in the school, and right to homeroom. After their teacher took the roll, the announcements came over the intercom.
"Good morning students. The chess club meeting is cancelled for today because of the continuation of the tennis tournament between our Lady Tigers and the Gaynor High Lady Cougars. We would like you all to be out there supporting our varsity girls tennis squad and cheer them on to victory. Leigh Anne Smythe will substitute for Donna Sanchez as Donna has a sprained ankle from exercising last night at home. It will be about a week before she can play again. There are no more announcements for today, so, all I can say is, GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO TIGERS!!!!!"
Leigh looked at Patty and Darlene, who were smiling. Leigh gets to play a second day in a row, then has a week to practice. She has to find a clay court somewhere to practice. Leigh's morning classes went by very fast, or so Leigh thought. The bell rang ending the last morning class, and they put their books in their lockers and headed to the cafeteria. Leigh saw they were having cardboard pizza, again, so she just took a juice and a yogurt. The lady at the cash register waved her through and winked at Leigh.
Leigh waited for Patty and Darlene and they went to find a table. The entire squad sat with each other, again, and this time, Leigh would be playing Debbie Adams. Gaynor didn't have the numbers on their squad that Hampton had. In fact, Gaynor was one player short, but it didn't matter because they had enough for singles play and doubles. But, if Gaynor makes it to state, they will need one more player, as all the teams must have the same amount of eligible players. That means that each team in the conference must have eight players.
"Leigh, it is not good that Donna doesn't get to play today. She was so looking forward to playing. But, accidents happen, and you get to play a second day in a row. You are not only substituting for Janey, but also for Donna. Somebody upstairs really likes you." Leigh looked at the ceiling and frowned.
"I don't see anybody." All the girls giggled. "I do have a small confession to make. I just can't get enough of playing tennis. That is why I play it every weekend. But, this week, though, I am going to have to find a clay court somewhere, so I can practice."
"They have two clay courts right next to each other at the college in the next county. I can get my mom to take us."
"Patty, that would be great, but I couldn't impose. Not for practice."
"So, impose already. Look, all of us are going to have to practice for our next game against Gaynor. The only reason we get to play them two times in a row, is because of the different types of courts. We can talk to Mrs. Madison, and see if we can get school approval for a field trip to go the college, so everybody can practice."
"Attention please, attention. Will the Girls varsity tennis squad please meet in the girls gym right after lunch. Thank you, ladies, and GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO TIGERS!!!!"
"This is better than I thought. We get to practice all afternoon. Gaynor may be doing the same thing. The reason you will be playing Debbie Adams, Leigh, is because of her height. You saw how she played yesterday. She is good, in her own way, but don't underestimate her."
"Thank you, Dot. I think we will be able to at least take one school in the conference away from them. Us!"
The girls all said, "RIGHT ON!" As loud as they could. The whole student body that was in the cafeteria said, "GOOOOOOOOOOO TIGERS!!!" The girls did their solidarity handshake before leaving the cafeteria. Then all went to the girls gym.
"Afternoon, ladies. Today, we beat the skirts off of the Lady Cougars. Leigh, you will play against Debbie Adams. Whereas we have eight players, they only have seven. So one of their girls has to play again today. So, let's all get your racquets and head over to the courts. We are going to practice all afternoon."
"We were talking and we all agreed we are going to have to practice on a clay court before we meet Gaynor on their home courts. The college in the next county has two courts, side by side. We could practice on those. Do you think we could do it so that it could be an extracurricular activity, and we could take the bus there and back?"
"I will talk to Mr. Thompson after school today, or even during practice, since he will come out there. I think that is a good idea, Dot. I think Mr. Thompson will allow us to do that. I will be given permission slips for each of you, and your parents will have to sign them. It is okay if only one parent signs them, too. Are we ready, ladies? Let's go practice."
They headed out to the courts across the street. The line up as different than it was yesterday. This time, Leigh, Dorothy, Colleen and Cheryl were on one team. After the two teams took their sides of the court, Mrs. Madison, told Leigh to serve the ball.
Leigh served for an ace toward Colleen. Cheryl tried to return it, but it went right by her and toward Colleen. Colleen tried to lob it, but was too hard, and it ended up out. Leigh and Dorothy switched positions, and Leigh took the inside of the court, while Dorothy served. Colleen and Cheryl also switched positions, and Dorothy served the ball. Colleen caught the ball with her racquet, and returned the ball to Leigh. Leigh returned it to Cheryl, and the volley went back and forth for about eleven minutes. Then Leigh hit the ball out. It was now 15-15 and Leigh served again. Cheryl returned it to Dorothy, who hit it back. After two minutes, Dorothy hit it out and it was now 30-15. It was now Colleen's serve, and she hit too hard, and Mrs. Madison called it out. Colleen served again, and this time the volley lasted five minutes, before Leigh hit it out. 40-15. Take your time girls. Just keep your minds on the game.
The practice went on all afternoon, with the two teams switching the serves. This was only because Mrs. Madison wanted to see the strengths and weaknesses of each girl. Then she could talk to them about where they needed to improve.
"Ladies, Gaynor will be here any time, now. I just want to say this. You all did great, but there were a few errors. Leigh, don't try to lob the ball, unless you are sure you can make it count. When you girls play the inside of the court during doubles, and you see the ball is a little too high or fast, let it go to your partner. So, other than that, you all did very well. Here comes the Gaynor bus. Everybody please sit down."
The stands were filling up, and Leigh saw her same cheering section, including Dr. Sam. There was one person in the stands that Leigh didn't see, wearing a dark blue hoodie.
The judges took their positions and Mrs. Olga Svenson took the referee's chair.
"May I have your attention, everybody? This is a continuation of the tournament between the Hampton Senior High School Lady Tigers and the Gaynor Senior High School Lady Cougars that was started yesterday. Today will determine eligibility to see which school will go to the state finals." There were cheers from both schools. "We also have a last minute substitution. Leigh Anne Smythe will be playing for Donna Sanchez, who is out with a sprained ankle."
Everybody looked to see who yelled, and they saw it was Geraldine Watkins.
"Miss Watkins, do you have a protest?"
"Yes, I do. If she gets to play two days in a row, then so do I."
"Miss Watkins, Donna Sanchez suffered a sprained ankle last night at her home, while exercising. Hampton High called the MHSAA and they approved the substitution. I do not see your name here as a substitution for anybody. Miss Smythe has been approved by the state association. Your argument is with them."
"Excuse me, Madam Referee."
"The chair recognizes Debbie Constantine from the Michigan High School Athletic Association. You may speak, Miss Constantine."
"Thank you, Madam Referee. Young lady, what is your name?"
"Well, Miss Watkins, we were called this morning when one of the player's parent called the school saying that her daughter, who was on the varsity tennis squad, would be absent all week from school, because of a sprained ankle, and she needed to stay off of it, and keep her foot elevated. Hampton Senior High School called our office right away this morning, asking that a last minute substitution be allowed, because one of the players was out for medical reasons, and they described the medical reason. We approved the substitution. In this context, Miss Watkins, it is fair Leigh Anne Smythe gets to play for a second day in a row. Do you have anything else to say?"
"No!" Geri Watkins said, and sat down fuming.
"Thank you, Madam Referee."
"Alright. Will Debbie Adams and Leigh Anne Smythe, please take the court, with Gaynor facing the sun. Yesterday, Hampton started out facing the sun. It is Gaynor's serve."
Debbie Adams served the ball, and the volley lasted for several minutes, before Leigh hit it in to the net.
"Debbie served again, and this time when Leigh returned it, Debbie hit it way past Leigh, forcing it to be called out.
Debbie served again, and tripped on the court.
"Miss Adams, are you all right?"
"No, ma'am, I think I hit my ankle bone."
Miss Constantine went out on the court, and looked at Debbie Adams' ankle. She whispered so nobody else could hear.
"You aren't hurt, and if this is a ruse to get that other girl to play, I will have a conference with the judges and the referee, and have your school disqualified. Is that what you want?"
"All right. Get up and play. Don't pull this again. Everything is fine, madam referee."
"Players, resume play. It is still Gaynor's serve."
Debbie Adams served the ball, and Leigh returned it for a point.
The next serve was way wild and way over Leigh's head. Leigh looked at the referee with a 'what the heck' kind of look.
"Out. Gaynor, this is the second day in a row that one of your players has gotten angry at Miss Smythe, who is only playing the game. Caution your player to settle down." Gaynor's coach called time.
After a bit, Debbie served the ball again, and this time it was in. Leigh and Debbie volleyed the ball for another several minutes, and Leigh hit it for another point.
This time, the two girls volleyed the ball for over ten minutes, when Debbie Adams hit it out.
"Game, Smythe." There were cheers from Hampton and boos from Gaynor. "It is Hampton's serve, please change sides of the net." After changing sides, Leigh served the ball.
When Debbie Adams tried to return it, it hit the net.
The next volley seemed to go on forever, until Debbie hit past Leigh for an out.
The next volley went on for less than two minutes, and just as Leigh hit the ball inside Debbie's side of the court, a glass bottle crashed near Leigh's feet. Leigh wasn't hit with the bottle, and it was thrown from the Gaynor side spectators.
Debbie Constantine asked to be recognized again. She went up the referee and had a short talk with Mrs. Svenson.
"It has come to the attention of the chair, that since Gaynor Senior High School can't seem to control its student body, Gaynor Senior High School is hereby disqualified from further games until an investigation has been concluded. This broken glass is going to be fingerprinted by the police, because what just happened was dangerous attempted assault. This in itself, is cause for the offending school to be terminated from competition."
"Madam Referee, the MHSAA is terminating this competition in favor of the Hampton Senior High School Lady Tigers, who didn't have to cheat to try to win. However, nobody is free to leave yet, because before asking to be recognized, I called the police. We are either going to have decent sportsman like conduct, or the offenders will not compete. That is according to the MHSAA handbook. If any student disagrees with the judgement of the chair, please read the MHSAA handbook."
Two police officers were shown on to the courts. They looked at the bottle, and asked Leigh where she was standing when the bottle landed. Leigh showed them, then one of the officer's called for a picture and fingerprint squad. When Leigh looked at her mother, she saw she was talking to a man. Leigh excused herself and went by her mother.
"Shhh. It's okay, punkin. When we get home, we are going to talk. Let's get through this, first."
One of the officer's came over by Leigh. "If we find the person who did this, is sixteen years or older, we are going to prosecute for felony endangering safety. If that bottle had hit you in the head, it could have knocked you out, or even caused you to go in to a coma. That is a Coca Cola bottle. The bottom is heavier than most soda bottles. Right now, our picture and fingerprint squad is photographing the crime scene and taking fingerprints from the glass. We are also going to be questioning the other school's students. One of them threw that bottle, since bottles can't throw themselves. So, give us your information. Your name is Leigh Anne Smythe?"
"You are fourteen years old?"
"What is your date of birth?"
"August 14, 1996. So you will be fifteen this year."
"Are these your parents?"
"What is your address?"
"23226 Palisades Drive, in Waterford."
"Do you know your phone number?"
"Yes, sir. It is 525-6446."
"Where do you go to school?"
"Here, at Hampton Senior High School."
"Alright, Leigh, I guess that will do it. You and your folks may leave. If we have any more questions we may stop by or call. Thank you for your cooperation."
Leigh and her parents left the courts. They walked back in the building so Leigh could get her books for homework, and found another note taped to her locker with her homework assignments on it.
They then went out to the waiting car in the parking lot, and after everybody was buckled in, Geraldine Smythe drove for home.
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