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The New Comer
The balding, grey haired and wrinkle faced men sat around the old chipped coffee table. Light streamed through the windows, illuminating the printed pages before them. Pen marks gleamed on the white paper, crossing outs and hastily scrawled words. They did their best to push together the broken pieces of something that had once been great.
The man in the grey shirt pushed his glasses further up his nose and sighed.
'Dave, we might as well accept it, this is over.'
Dave nodded, wiping the sweat from underneath his glasses.
'I guess you’re right Tim.'
The man called Tim, scratched at the stubble on his chin and took a sip from his coffee cup, wincing as he swallowed.
'Well gentlemen, I guess this is it' Tim said, standing up.
He held out his hand, waiting for someone to shake it. A man at the end of the table stood up and let his hand swing toward the other mans. It froze in mid-air though as the doors flew open and a young women in a bright red blouse and a blue jeans walked in. Her brown hair gleamed in the sunlight and her green eyes danced. She was a total contrast to the scene around her, bright, happy and young.
'So sorry I’m late. What have I missed?' she said falling into a chair next to Dave.
Tim and the other man slowly sunk back into their chairs.
'I am glad you’re here Renee, we’re folding.'
Renee stared blankly at the man for a minute and then gave herself a shake.
'Sorry I believe I just hallucinated. What did you say?'
'I said, we are folding.'
The smile on Renee’s face disappeared and the dancing in her eyes dimmed.
'Either I just hallucinated for the second time in five seconds or you just said we’re folding.'
'I just said we’re folding.'
Coffee splashed out of cups, the men sat up straighter in their seats and a loud thump echoed around the room as Renee banged the table with her fist.
'I have a couple of questions for all of you!' she said standing up, her voice filling the room.
Her finger spun through the air, resting for a moment on each of the men’s faces. The weary look on the men’s faces was gone, now they were alert and even a little excited.
'We don’t have the numbers.'
'So what happens to the rest? The poor children who want to play? Who find no joy in any other sport? What happens to them?'
'Bad luck I suppose' Tim whispered.
Renee was leaning over Tim now, her breath blowing around his face. Even in anger she was beautiful and every man in the room could appreciate that even though they were half scared of her.
'Let me throw some ideas around for you. We play a smaller version here, six aside maybe. We enter a team in one of the bigger competitions, Warrnambool or Ballarat maybe. It doesn’t stop just because we can’t have full field games. We have to get our numbers up again. Convince people hockey is cool again. You can’t just give up because the going gets tough.'
'No one likes hockey anymore. They think it’s not cool.'
'It’s a small town, people are going to do what’s ‘cool’ not what makes them happy. We just have to show them how cool hockey can make them.'
There was a light shining in the men now, a sort of hope that was streaming out of the men. Tim clicked his pen and poised it on the paper.
'So? What’s next?' he asked.
Renee smiled and sat back down, 'Get ready, because we have a lot of work to do.'