Chapter 7. Game Time
The bright lights were on.
The stadium was packed. The sun was on its way down, and the commentator was talking the game away.
I didn't like how the coaches yelled at their players. I mean, they already have stress while playing on the field, why give them more?
I must say our football team was doing good tonight. I actually lost my nervousness when I started to cheer for them. They really gave us something to cheer for.
I saw Bram in the game. His legs were propelling him, he found open spots to catch the ball, and fastly made it there. He was on fire tonight, catching most of his passes.
Kenton was playing his position well too, he ran up the middle of the defense, gaining plenty of yardage for the team. I must admit, Kenton had to be strong in order to run over those big guys from the other team.
The tigers were the other team. (like anyone cares) their cheerleaders on the other side of the field were jumping up and down, in their black and orange. They had sloppy cheers. You could see that they had a great lack of talent and practice. They needed more time in the gym, and they probably needed to work more as a squad. From where I was, it seemed like every one of the tiger cheerleaders wanted to do their own thing.
The bottom line is: These tigers should be taking notes from us.
Amber turned around facing the stands. When the squad saw her move to face the crowd instead of the field, we all quickly followed suit.
Without a second thought when we heard her start the chant, we knew exactly what to do. Everything was on time, even our formation.
"Our team is Boom, Dynamite!
Our team is Boom, Dynamite!
Our team is what?
Our team is tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick Boom DYNAMITE!"
Trying to get the crowd to help us cheer for the football team was hard, but at least as a cheerleader I'm doing my part. The football guys knew we were here rooting them on to victory.
The game became intense later. The score was: Eagles 12, and Tigers 6. Bram was giving me plenty to yell about. He caught a pass that earned his team a touchdown. I couldn't have been any prouder of him. Seeing the way the Tiger guys were tackling them I was hoping Bram wouldn't get hurt out there.
The Tigers gained possession of the ball. Amber `our cheer captain' must have been feeling the tension.
"We are going to do some cheers, that will intimidate and distract the other team." Amber said. The way Amber made it sound as if we were apart of the game ourselves. But if this would help us win the game without tying with the tigers, I would do anything.
"You might be good at basketball,
You might be good at track.
But when it comes to football
You might as well step back
You might as well step back!
You might as well step back!"
"Eagles!!" we all spirited doing our toe touches. Amber was jumping very high. So were the other girls. Amber told them to try and distract the tigers by doing jumps and flips to take their minds from the game and on the skirts. Or what's under the skirts.
I didn't know what my role was in this, so I just played along with their plan. To make what Amber was doing seem like it was everyday cheerleading stuff.
While Amber's plan was going through. I was cheering my heart out, hoping Bram could hear me. I was hoping he was feeling less nervous by now.
Every cheer we did after that, I would put Bram's name in it, or sometimes in my mind I would yell `Go, 88!' I did it so much that I almost forgot to cheer for Kenton `Go, 27!' whoops.
The tigers somehow gained yardage. They earned a first down with their last play. I was hoping our guys smashed them into dust. Every tackle and play, I wanted Bram and Kenton to be safe with no broken bones, and the tigers beaten!
All of a sudden the quarterback for the tigers threw a pass straight into the in zone. One of the tiger's receivers were running to meet the ball. By the time he caught up with the ball's speed...
We were all scared. This could make a tie. This could make the guys go into overtime.
The whole stadium was stuck. We all were watching the spiral of the ball, hoping it would land...
Commentator: "It's an interception!! He is on the move. He makes a quick left, and a right... that's a Touchdown for the Eagles!"
I was ecstatic. I screamed for Bram as loud as I could. I don't know why he was nervous, he was killing these tigers.
By that time it was already time for another cheer.
Cookies and cream (Clap)
What's the matter with the other team? (Clap)
Nothing at all. (Clap)
They just, (Clap, clap) can't play ball!
Come on Kenton. I know you are out there. Don't give up. Keep playing hard. I keep cheering for those two in my head. I didn't want to give anyone on the squad any ideas.
The score had become 20 to 6. Eagles in the lead. The Tigers had the ball again they were getting clobbered with tackles by our team.
Amber told us it was time for a fast minute water break. I went to my bag which was lying by the metal gate piled next to the other varsity squad's bags. I pulled out a water bottle and took a quick sip. I didn't know how dry my mouth was.
Levi came over to me whispering, "How are you holding up? Still nervous?"
"No, not at all." I said taking sips between words. "That all left before the game."
He gave me a quick thumbs up, before going back to his position on the side of the track. Amber didn't let more than three of us get a water break at a time. That way we can keep track of the game, always stay in cheer mode, and get a drink to keep our throats from drying.
When I got back to my stance. The tigers kept trying to get more yardage hoping for a first down but our defense was too tough to allow it.
The score 20 to 6 remained the same all the way until half time. When the football boys went to the locker room for a break, us cheerleaders were heading out to the center of the field to be called out by name. As the commentator called our names we were in a perfect line. When we heard our names called we would step forward to show the crowd who we were and then do a toe touch.
Later in half time the band came for the stands to perform. They marched all over the field making shapes and melodies. They created figures out of formations, and lines as they played tunes and stomped around the field. I always wondered how did they know how to make all these neat shapes?
By the time the fifteen minute half time was over, the sky was complete blanket of black. The lights from the stadium were ultra bright now. I could see bugs buzzing around the lights, attracting them to the stands. The air became warm and humid as the sun left. All these things are what started the third quarter.
The third quarter coach Burnett finally signaled us for our break. I wish I could have stayed and encouraged the guys some more, but seeing how good they are doing, I think they will do fine without us.
Some of the cheerleaders from the squad headed straight for the restrooms. Some of them picked this time to go into the stands and talk to family, or boyfriends, or just friends. While most of us went directly for the concession stand.
The concession stand smelled delicious. I saw wieners being slow roasted behind the counter. Nacho chips being heated. There were sodas lining the shelves, snack bags of chips. Huge pretzels, along with buffalo wings were being put on the counters for display. I even saw a lady frying a batch of popcorn chicken.
Everything looked so tasty right now, but the prices were too high.
No matter the price, I needed something to settle my hunger. The smells from the cooking, and roasting steam in the night air alone made stomach growl harder, begging me for something off the menu.
I only had two dollars. My mom told me that was all I needed, because she still has bills to pay.
The only thing I can buy is: Two bags of chips (2.00), Cheese fries (1.50), Large pretzel (2.00), Corndog (1.75), Plain hotdog (1.00).
Then Levi came up to me telling me his mom gave him 2.50. We decide to put our money together and get whatever we wanted, and split it.
After deliberating we settled in the stands eating, popcorn chicken with chili cheese. We had to walk up the stands carefully. We didn't want to stain our uniforms. We still had to represent the eagles.
While we were both watching the game, eating our chili cheese popcorn chicken. Bosh came up to us.
"You guys are good out there, and the uniforms are just out of this world!"
"Duh." Levi moaned moving our basket of food away from Bosh. "That's what happens when you are on Varsity...and stop talking over our food."
Without another word Bosh took his cue and left. He wasn't too dumb to know he wasn't wanted around. We know he wants to fit in with us and let people catch him talking to us, but PLEASE!! Not JV losers. We wouldn't want anybody thinking we were apart of their crowd.
The third quarter ended. The eagles were still in the lead, 20 to 12. Now, that the fourth quarter was here. Our break was over. It was time for W.H.S. cheerleaders to get back out there.
Saleen and Janis tried to pay us back from yesterday, when we totally broke their cheer spirit. They tried to make these inside jokes, sniggling. It was so childish. Both of them looked like they were four years old.
I looked over at them smugly. "What a bunch of goofy hating clowns!" they both kept trying to ignore us. But I was going to make sure I would be heard. "Respect the uniform, junkies."
That's when Levi turned to them and said "Yeah, You are at a Varsity game not the circus."
"'The critics' strike again." I exclaimed, slapping a high five with Levi. Even though we had struck I felt like I wanted to do something else to those two before I head back down to cheer.
Saleen and Janis were eating something cheesy. It looked like chicken strips. They left it sitting beside them on the stand.
Casually walking, I stepped on the plate of food as I walked away from them. Their faces were so full of anger and hate, that their laughs died on sight.
After a devious smirk, and an "Ooops! I didn't mean to do that." I played it off to be an accident. Levi laughed all the way back down the rows of stands as we rushed down.
They wanted to kill me but they couldn't. That is what makes it that much sweeter. Friday nights are Varsity nights. When are those dumb JV junkies going to learn that?
When Levi and I made it to the track were the rest of the squad was. The Eagles were dominating the field. We went straight into cheering. Our cheers were echoing through the stands lifting the boys to greater heights.
Then the band started playing a beat. I remembered the beat, and what cheer it went with. Everything I learned at practice started to come to me. All the cheerleaders got into position wasting no time.
"I stomp my feet (Stomp, stomp)
I boogie to the beat (Dance)
I turn around, (Face football field)
I touch the ground. (Squat low, touch the ground)
I wiggle it, (Shake hips, left to right)
Just a little bit. (Shake, shake)"
The tempo of the cheer was quick, quick, quick. It was one sentence after the other. One dance move after the other. Everyone had to be on the same time. The cheer went like `I stomp my feet, I boogie to the beat, I turn around, I touch the ground, I wiggle it, just a little bit.' I was really thanking God that I followed the steps in practice.
I couldn't believe the guys who (only Levi and myself), had to get down and shake our butts. It was my first time dancing like that...but it was fun. I guess I better get used to it, something tells me this isn't my last time shaking my butt for the fans.
The audience seemed to like that cheer the most. I could hear them cheering and waving banners when we were finished. It was a magnificent feeling I got from the life of the crowd. Now I know how celebrities felt when they were on the red carpet.
The game narrowed down. The Eagles toasted the Tigers, 20 to 12.
BOOOO the Tigers!! Eagles Rock!
After the game, our squad huddled by the gate, picking up our bags and saying our good-byes. The night ended with Levi taking me home. On the way home in the car ride, I enjoyed the after effect of cheering. It was a rush like no other, an exhilarating heart racing experience. I caught myself smiling and blushing over and over again thinking about how the game turned out.
Levi was driving the car, he kept peeking over at me from time to time checking on me. "How are you feeling? Did you like cheering at your first game?"
"Yeah, I can't believe the way I'm feeling right now!" I said shaking my head. "I feel like I can cheer at another game right now!"
"Hahaha" he laughed hitting the wheel. "Yeah, that's the great feeling we all feel after our first game. Doesn't sound like you're nervous anymore."
"I'm not, I really don't know why I was ever nervous."
"See, I told you, you would be fine. The practices pay off don't they?"
"Yes they do. I used everything coach Burnett told us, and it helped." I replied still excited. I didn't feel like leaving the field...ever. I know when I go home my entire cheer vibe will die, but this is one experience I will remember for a lifetime. A memory the world would never be able to take away from me.
"Save that energy you are feeling, for the next week of practices we have. They will be grueling." He told me staring ahead at the night road.
"I will try."
When he dropped me off at home, I was glad to see my sister sleeping like the angel she wasn't. I told my mom how my first night as a cheerleader was. She was interested but not too much.
So when I finished talking to her I showered. In the heat of water raining down on my skin, something happened. Something changed suddenly...
It was like the exhilaration of excitement I felt earlier was sapped out of me. It was like I was weaker all of a sudden. The energy I thought I had to cheer at another game was depleted.
Exhilaration had become exhaustion. After I got out of the shower, I went into my room, and let myself fall into the bed and its relaxing comfort. Wrapping my thin body in my comforter and sheets, I was on my way to sleep.
As I started to drift, and my thoughts began to sway, somewhere, something, some part of me wanted to talk to Bram. I was hoping his first game as a Varsity player was as good as my experience as a Varsity cheerleader.
If he wasn't nervous next week, would he talk to me? nervousness is the reason why we were reunited again. What if he only talked to me to get pumped for the game? What if we still aren't friends?
What if things go back to normal on Monday?... he might ignore me.
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