Jules struggled at first against Coach's grip on her shoulders, then just kind of slumped into him, too drunk too walk. "Darn," she mumbled. "Did I miss th' trainin'?"
Harper looked at the girl in disgust. Just the fact that she got drunk right before a meet was enough to make Harper want to slap the drunken look out of her eyes.
"No," replied Coach sharply. "But you might if you keep this up. You're on probation, missy. You better walk a pretty darn straight line from now on, or you're kicked off the team, you hear?" He doubted she understood half of what he said; he'd talk to her later, when she was sober again.
He wished Marta was still here; he wanted to ask her who had chosen this girl for the team. Maybe he'd been misinformed, but he thought this team was for well-behaved, inspiring students.
Well, he'd worry about it later. "Someone take this girl to her room," he said gruffly. "Who volunteers?"
Harper was no way vollenteering to help this drunken girl stumble up to her rooms. She glared at the girl, who was making the team look bad.
Jules didn't really know why everyone looked so unhappy. She was on cloud nine. "Walk in a straight line?" she asked, tipsy. "I'm not sure I can do that..." To demonstrate, she tried walking and swerved all over the place.
Then part of what Coach had said registered, and a small part of Jules snapped back to attention. "I don't want to go back to my room. I want to train."
Alex focused her gaze on the ground. It would be just her luck if Coach picked her. But that would be extremely embarrassing . Maybe someone will volunteer, like that blond girl with the glasses, or one of the twins.
Mark glared at the girl. How irresponsible! How foolish! Why was she even on this team at all? They were supposed to be the best of the best. Clearly, this girl was not.
Jamie watched the situation uneasily. Conflict made him nervous when it wasn't on a baseball diamond.
What was this girl thinking? She would surely be kicked off if she did this again. Coach's face was as red as a tomato, and the girl was so drunk, she didn't even care. Ben glanced at his other teammates, only to see his own look of disapproval mirrored back.
Harper glared at the girl, then sighed and looked away. No doubt this was making the whole team look bad. Sighing Harper stepped foward. "I'll take her." She said.
"Good. While, uh..." (Coach consulted a piece of paper from his back pocket) "while Harper takes her upstairs, the rest of you get back up against the wall! I'll introduce myself, tell you the rules, and then we'll play a game."
He tried to make the game sound like loads of fun.
Mark growled irritably. Great. Just great. A game, huh? He rolled his eyes and didn't even bother trying to hide his annoyance. Jamie smiled with amusement at Mark's reaction and shrugged. He was fine with anything. Even if it was just a pointless little game, he wasn't going to protest.
Alex watched as Harper led the girl upstairs. Was that Juliette, the midfielder for the soccer team?
Harper lead the girl up the stairs, draging her along. Once they got to her room she opened the door and pushed her in roughly. Turning to her Harper whispered furiously "Stop that. Stop making the team look so bad. Do you even care? Stay sober." Harper slamed the door in the girl's face.
When Harper returned, Coach cleared his throat. "Okay, bananas," he started. "My name is Gregory-but you can call me Coach. I grew up in your town, and coached a minor-league baseball team, as well as a few other sports, in my younger days. I was selected to be coach of this team because if my strong morals." He looked around pointedly.
"Which brings us to the rules. I don't mean the rules of the games we will be playing and practicing, I mean the all-around conduct rules." He coughed slightly.
"There will be no talking back, no arguing, no sassing, and no swearing. There will be no disobedience. You are not permitted to leave this hotel unless you ask. You may not cheat in any way.
"You will do what you are told and eat what is put in front of you. Your curfew is ten pm. You must be in your room by that time. There will be-" he cleared his throat- "NO drinking or other funny business.
"If, by chance, you are in a romantic relationship with a member of the team, (or anyone else for that matter), you will not allow this to get in the way of your curfew, your training, or your performance. I reserve the right to break off any relationships which interfere with the team.
"You are part of a team. Act like it. That means you will be courteous and respectful to ALL members of the team, and the other teams, too.
"If you break one of these rules, in any way, you will be on probation. You will continue with practices and games, but if you break another rule, you will be kicked off the team."
"Finally, remember this: What you do reflects on our team. If you make a mistake, the entire team has made a mistake." He looked upward, in the direction of Juliette's room. " But if you perform well, the whole team will benefit."
Indignation swelled in Juliette's chest. So they were just going to write her off, just like every other stuck up organization out there. Well she'd had enough practice playing soccer while drunk, and she wasn't about to be shoved in a hotel room now. When the bossy girl was gone, she opened her door and stumbled back out in the hallway, determined to play with the others.
After all, she was the best of the best.
Jamie listened only partially. The rest of his attention was spent staring around the room they were in, looking at the people against the wall with him.
Mark on the other hand nodded and listened to Coach as if he was some kind of religious leader. He nodded intently.
By the time Jules had found her way back to the training center, she'd splash water on her face enough times that she felt moderately sober. She walked in and sat there quietly, trying not to make a scene. Worst case scenario, she'd just have to watch.
Coach saw Juliette come in. He smiled to himself, but didn't say anything. If she made a scene, he'd throw her out, of course, but until then, he'd just pretend nothing ad happened.
"Okay, bananas," he said. "Those are the rules. Now we're going to have some fun." He smiled like he wasn't lying; he had become an expert at that.
((Sorry, gotta go! I'll finish this post later, my iPad won't save what I have so far))
Ben wondered why Coach kept calling the team bananas. Was that their team name? The Mighty Bananas? That would be embarrassing.
Jake kept bouncing excitedly, wondering when they were going to get started. He grinned eagerly, looking around at everyone's faces.