Jaguars

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“All right, ladies and gents, you are free to go. Just make sure that you don’t get injured. Lana, that means you.”

The team laughed, but we all knew that she was the one that was most likely to get hurt before a competition. It’s not that she was a klutz, it’s just that well, yeah, that’s why, because she a klutz. However, I would be even be a task for her to get hurt in twenty-four hours, but knowing her she’d make it an easy task.

I looked at my team. Yes, my team. Last year at this time I was just a member. Now, I’m captain. Looking at them now made me feel accomplished. I never knew how much our pervious captain put into the team: Jane, Becky, Evangeline, and all of the other original Jaguars. I’m not sure how they survived molding this team. Everyone’s personalities are so different. The loud and outgoing ones and the quiet shy ones. The ones that make mistakes every single practice and the ones that you just want to punch of being so perfect. The ones that have to have their two cents in every conversation and then the ones that don’t even open their mouths unless you speak to them. However, when all twenty-eight of us are on the floor and the music is pulsing, you wouldn’t be able to tell any of our personalities apart.

We often get compliments about how well our team works together. Boy, do we have those judges fooled! The team before me is the worst example of teamwork ever. We can’t go five minutes without having a minor cat fight break out between two of the girls. Every practice there is some amount of blood spilt on the dark blue carpet, either from someone dropping a toss, a lose leg, a punch, anything. Today’s practice was rather calm. The coach only had to do four stitches and that was because Jessie hit Brook, on accident. Then some fighting words were tossed about, Jessie said something about Brook’s ‘momma’ and Brook hit him. The team spilt in half so fast, it was insane. It took a whole half hour to get everyone united and calm again. And yet, we get compliments on our team work.

“Brook and Jessie, we can’t have you guys hating one another at the competition. Especially me, because you guys are my bases and I don’t want to be dropped. Plus, you guys are like best friends,” I said, making eye contact with both of the boys. That was true. The only people that are better friends than them are Lana and I. And the whole thing about me not wanting to be dropped, that was true too. “Hug and make up, right now.” They looked at me. “Now!”

I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but I did see their lips moving. It was a start. I waited a moment, looking over the team again. My eyes fell on Lana; it was hard not to look at her she was waving her arms around trying to get my attention. I mentally noted to ask her parents if she was dropped on her head. Well she probably was; she is a flier after all.

“What?” I mouthed.

“Hey, I wanna go out to Longhorn. Spilt the bill with me?”

“Okay.” My eyes traveled back to the gentlemen, “Everything in order?” They nodded. “Cool. Okay. Now you are free to go. Wait huddle.” We huddled. “Let’s end practice on a good note. Oh, and remember to get the uniforms, and get your uniform not one belonging to someone else.” My eyes fell on Lana again. She was the one to grab the wrong uniform. “So now that that’s been said, Jaguars on three! Jaguars on three. One, Two, Three, JAGUARS!”

The name echoed through the gym. A team untied. I smirked and looked over my shoulder. There hung a picture that had been there for as long as I could remember. Jax, our now late coach, smiled back at me. He was the first man; scratch that, the first person to ever tell me that I wasn’t doing something right and that it wasn’t good enough. I was seven. I hated him for it then. But I love him for it now. He made me the person that I am today. I’m not the best person in the world; I’ve still got my problems. However, I’m a way better person for knowing Jax. I hope that he’s pleased with the way that the team has turned out under me. I always wondered, in the back of my mind, if Jax would approve of what I was doing. But he always used to tell me “Don’t question things. Just do it.” So I did. “A team untied,” I whispered to the picture.

“Come on, Ebony. Let’s go. Jamie is coming, so we can split it three ways.” Lana called to me. “I got your uniform.”

Looking at the picture once more, I winked and I thought I saw him wink back. I walked from the gym and flicked the lights off. Darkness took over the room. Turning my back to the darkness, I smiled.

“We’re gonna kill ‘em at competition and we’re gonna do it for you. All for you Jax.” Then something processed in my mind. “Lana! You got my uniform, right?” There was no answer. “Right?!” There was still no answer, but I could hear her laughing. “Lana!” I groaned and stormed out of the gym. “Lana! I can hear you!”





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