Leigh Anne - Chapter 13
By Barbara Lynn Terry
Part 1 - The team goes to Leigh’s house.
The team and Leigh and company left Gaynor and started for the school. They had to get their homework assignments, before going home. The parents of the students who took the bus, also went in the school to get their homework assignments. Taped to each one of the team’s lockers, was the homework assignments to be completed overnight. After getting the books they will need, they headed out to their parents cars. Leigh had a wonderful idea. Let the team go to her house for dinner. Because of the rain, they still had time for dinner.
When Leigh brought it up, several team mates said no, because of the homework. Leigh suggested they could have a study group, with everbody right in the living room. When Mrs. Whithers, Mary’s mom, said that would be a wonderful idea to have a study group, then the mothers could get to know each other better, than just running in to each other, now and then.
The team, had to agree, if their mothers wanted to get to know each other, and the dads were also getting to know each other over a game of poker and a few beers.
“Men!” Leigh exclaimed.
“What about men,” Patty inquired.
“Our moms are in the kitchen having coffee and talking, our dads are in my dad’s study, playing poker and drinking beer. Men!”
“... and don’t forget about us, here in the living room doing homework,” Darlene said.
“So, each group is doing something. Most of us have the same classes, so we can help each other,” Leigh stated. “What is surprising is, we have been gone most of the day on a field trip to play tennis in the tournament, and we have only three subjects apiece for homework. So, apparently, we didn’t miss much.”
“I know, right. I mean, usually we are loaded with homework,” Darlene said, with surprise in her voice. “These subjects are the easiest of the classes we have. I mean, I love history, with its romance, beautiful clothes, and the jealousy, the murder, the backstabbing and the wars. History is full of adventure. Social studies tells us quite a lot about how a country operates, including our own.”
“Well, we are almost done with our homework. I have two more questions to do, then I am done,” Patty added.
I was almost seven o’clock, and time that Leigh and her mother were getting dinner ready. The money that her daddy made, was enough to pay the mortgage, the utility bills, buy food, and even extra food if it was needed. The Smythe family was not poor, but they weren’t rich, rich, either. They were a well to do upper middle class family, and made friends where ever they may be.
It was, however, at that time, that the girls noticed a food smell coming from the kitchen.
“I will be right back,” Leigh said to her friends.
Leigh went in the kitchen and noticed her mother at the stove.
“Mom, we’re all finished with our homework. I was just going to come in here and help you with dinner.”
“Well, dear,” Mrs. Smythe answered. “You have company, and we felt that you should be a good hostess and entertain your friends. We have everything under control in here.”
“Alright, mom, thank you.”
“Alright, mom. We are all finished with our homework assignments. I’m going to put mine in my room. The others are putting their books and papers in their backpacks. We are then going to watch a little television.”
“Alright, dear, we will let you know when dinner is ready.”
Leigh went back in the living room, and told the girls that she was told to entertain her guests. They all giggled.
“What kind of entertainment are you going to do, Leigh?” Darlene asked facetiously.
“Oh, I don’t know, Dar, I thought maybe I would dance on the coffee table.” Everybody laughed.
The girls all settled down to watch television, after their books were put away. Leigh took the remote and started surfing the channels, looking for a movie they could all watch. Of course, this wasn’t an arbitrary thing, where Leigh determined which movie to watch. She would find one, and then they would all vote yes or no. If it was a yes vote, Leigh would still surf for more movies, and then they would vote on which one they wanted out of all the yes votes.
Mary Whithers said she liked the old movies that her mother and father watched. Leigh knew what she was talking about, because her parents watched the same kind of movies. They all voted to watch Mrs. Doubtfire with Robin Williams, Sally Field and Pierce Brosnan.
They watched the movie with interest, because this was one movie that has a serious plot. It was hilarious in just a few parts, but mostly it was very serious.
Dinner was ready before the movie was over. They paused the movie so they could eat. Leigh’s mother said the girls could eat in the living room while they watched the movie. Several of the mothers joined the girls in watching the movie.
When dinner was done, and the movie was almost over, the mothers retired to the kitchen to help clean up. When the dishes were washed, rinsed, dried and put away, it was time for everyone to leave. Their mother all said everybody should get a good night’s rest, because the rest of the tournament is tomorrow. All the girls did a solidarity shake, where you all place hands on top of each others, then go downwards, and come back up. As they were coming back up, all the girls and their parents dramatically said: “GOOOOOOOOOOOO TIGERS!”
After giving hugs all around, the girls and their parents left. Leigh, her mother and father all went to get cleaned up for bed.
Part 2 - The tournament continues.
Chapter 1 - The girls practice one last time.
The next morning, the Smythe household was abuzz with activity. Leigh got her bath caddy and headed for the shower. She turned on the show, then did here toileting. When she was done, the shower was hot enough to get under. But, the Smythes had a sprayer attached to the shower head. Leigh soaped down, rinsed off, turned off the shower and patted herself dry. She went back in to her room to get dressed.
When she was dressed in her tennis skirt and top, she went down to breakfast. Gloria Smythe was already there cooking breakfast. This morning was Belgian waffles, maple flavored breakfast sausage, toast, milk and orange juice for Leigh, and of course, coffee for Gloria. Leigh’s dad had already left for work. Leigh had just finished her breakfast when she heard Mrs. Langston’s car horn. She kissed and hugged her mother, said “I love you”, grabbed her book bag and went out the door. Leigh got in the car and sat down.
“Good morning, Patty, Dar, good morning Mrs. Langston, thanx for the ride.”
“You are quite welcome, Leigh. Well, today is the last day of the regionals. Then in two weeks, we will all go to the state semi-finals and finals in Lansing. They’re being held at the MSU Tennis Center this year. They have a huge tennis center there. It is actually indoors.”
Mrs. Langston drove up to the school, and the girls all got out. Thy waited the few minutes it took for the bell to ring, then they were allowed in the school. Everybody went to their lockers to get what books they needed, and headed off to homeroom. Leigh’s homeroom was in Coblenz Hall, that was also used as the auditorium.
The whole school was abuzz about the upcoming game that was called yesterday on account of rain. The rain had lasted most of the night, right up until ten o’clock. Classes would be cancelled for the Hampton Lady Tigers, because of practice. Mr. Thompson was there for the homeroom.
“Students, faculty, I am very please with our tennis squad. Classes for the tennis will be postponed until tomorrow. Today, the Lady Tigers will practice across the street until it is time to go to Gaynor for the final day of the regional tournaments. It is still nice outside, so maybe we can get the school’s student body and faculty members out there to cheer you on, even though it is only practice. What is your desire?”
The student body said to go and watch the tennis squad practice.
“You know that you will receive your homework assignments when you get back inside the school.”
“Yes, we know, Mr. Thompson,” came an unknown voice. The student body of Coblenz Hall giggeld and snickered.
“Well, students, it is time the Lady Tigers went out to practice. Mrs. Madison, girls, good luck this afternoon at Gaynor.”
The entire tennis team said “thank you, Mr. Thompson”, in unison. Mr. Thompson did not need to go out to watch the Lady Tigers practice, because his window looked out at the tennis courts. Of course, being the principal, he had administrative work to do. He would be at Gaynor, though, when the Lady Tigers played the Lady Cougars.
As the team and student body went out to the courts. Mrs. Madison had a clip board in her hand. This held the previous scores, score percentage and lineup for the Lady Tigers.
“Girls,” began Mrs. Madison, “we will start with Mary and Darlene. Darlene, take the court to the left of where the chair would be. Mary you take the other. But, before that, however, let’s toss the coin to see who serves first.” Mrs. Madison tossed a quarter in to the air, and Mary called heads. It landed on tails. Darlene elected to serve receive.
Mary served her first ball, and it was returned for a score.
“Love-15,” called Mrs. Madison.
Mary’s next ball was a fault, as was her next one.
“Love-30,” Mrs. Madison called, again. “Mary, take your time serving. Those last two balls were served kind of wildly.”
Mary’s next serve was an ace.
“15-30, Miss Haskins.”
Mary’s next serve, even though it was hit calmly, hit Mary’s side of the net.
Mary served her second ball, and it was returned for a volley lasting eight minutes. However, Darlene scored by hitting the ball just inside the opposite corner from where Mary was standing.
“15-40, Miss Haskins.”
Mary’s next ball was an ace.
“30-40, Miss Haskins.”
Mary’s next ball was hit just at Darlene’s right foot.
“Deuce,” called Mrs. Madison
Mary’s next ball was another ace, having hit just inside the foul line half a court from Darlene was.
“Advantage, Miss Whithers.”
The next serve was another ace for Mary.
“Game, Miss Whithers. Good game, ladies. See, Mary, when you relaxed, and took your time, the game worked in your favor. Ladies, when you serve the ball, just relax and serve it calmly. You will see that opponent will return it, but, not as calmly as it was served. Now, Darlene, stay on your side of the court, and it is your serve.”
Darlene Haskins served the ball, calmly, and it hit just over the net, without it being a net ball.
“15-Love. That is the way, ladies. That was a nice serve, Darlene.”
Darlene’s next ball was another ace, having hit just inside the opposite foul line from where Mary was standing.
“30-Love, Miss Haskins. Ladies, when you are relaxed, and hit the ball calmly, you will get the points about ninety per cent of the time. You may continue, Darlene.”
The next serve was in and returned for a volley lasting several minutes, before Darlene hit it out.
“30-15, Miss Haskins. That was a nice return, Mary.”
All the while the two girls were playing, Mrs. Madison was taking notes on a sheet of paper on the clip board. She was also looking at the previous score card for the team, that had the team’s percentage of lobs, aces, returns and unforced errors and forced errors. Darlene’s next serve mirrored the first, and landed just over the net without hitting it.
“40-15, Miss Haskins.”
Darlene’s next serve was an ace.
“Game, Miss Haskins. Good game ladies. When we get to Gaynor,” there boos from the Hampton student body, when Mrs. Madison said their opponent’s school name. “As I was saying, when we get to the Gaynor courts, I want you all to remember this; since the Gaynor tennis squad their student body can’t take losing in a sportsmanlike manner, and get very emotional when on the court, you play there like you are playing here. They won’t know what hit them. Alright, then, I want Patricia Langston and Leigh Anne Smythe. Leigh, you call it in the air.” Mrs. Madison tossed a quarter in the air, and Leigh called tails. It was tails, and Leigh elected to serve. “Alright, Leigh, you may begin.”
As Leigh served her first ball, Patty returned, neither of the girls saw Miss Debbie Constantine from the Michigan High School Athletic Association, sit down in the bleachers. She was watching the volley between Leigh and Patty. When Leigh’s return hit the net and rolled over the top.
“15-Love. Leigh, that was a very good return. I have seen professional tennis players do that.”
“It was a surprise to me, Mrs. Madison,” Leigh stated.
“Okay. Girls, never let your opponent see surprise on your face. They will take that as a sign that it was just luck. Even if it is just luck, keep your composure at all times. You may continue, Leigh.”
Leigh’s next ball was returned and the volley lasted for four minutes before Leigh hit the ball so precisely, that is landed just inside the line.
“30-Love, Miss Smythe,”
There were cheers and somebody yelled out, “c’mon Leigh, you can do it.”
“Girls, a word of warning. Thr Gaynor student body will do everything they can to distract you. Keep your eye on the ball at all times, and make sure you keep your composure at all times. You may continue, Leigh.”
“Leigh served one ball that was returned. Leigh hit it back to Patty, and Patty missed it.
“30-15, Miss Smythe.”
Unbeknownst to Mrs. Madison and the team, Debbie Constantine was also taking notes, as to how well the players played. As the representative from the MHSAA, her job was twofold. She was there to actually see how well Leigh could play, and to keep order. The notes she was taking were for her.
Leigh served the ball again, and Patty returned it. Leigh hit is back to Patty who returned it back to Leigh. This volley went on for several minutes, before Patty hit it out.
“40-15, Miss Smythe. Patty, relax, remember what I said about relaxing.” It was double game point for Leigh. Could she pull it off? We will have to wait and see.
Leigh her next ball for an ace.
“Game Smythe,” Mrs. Madison called out. “Girls, you aren’t following my instruction to relax. When you are serving, or returning the ball, just do it calmly. You will find that you will get more points that way. I want Cheryl Masters and Colleen Sanders. Girls, call it in the air.” Cheryl called heads, but it landed on tails. It was Colleen’s serve. “Colleen, take your side of the net, and Cheryl you take yours.” Colleen had chosen to serve.
Colleen hit the first ball in to her side of the net, and it was called as a fault. Her second ball was returned for a score, as it hit near Colleen’s right foot.
The next serve was returned with the volley lasting eight minutes. Cheryl hit the ball so hard, it didn’t touch Colleen’s side of the court.
“15-All. Cheryl, you seem to be playing with anger. Never do that. Just relax and return the ball calmly. The strength is in your arm, when you return the ball, and even when you serve it. Alright, Colleen, you may continue.”
Colleen’s next serve was an ace.
“30-15, Miss Sanders.”
Colleen lobbed the ball on her next serve, that she scored another ace.
“40-15, Miss Sanders. That was a good lob, Colleen.”
Colleen’s next serve was served calmly, and Cheryl returned it. This volley lasted for ten minutes, when Cheryl hit it out.
“Game, Miss Sanders.”
“Excuse me, Mrs. Mrs. Madison,” Miss Debbie Constantine said.
“Miss Constantine, what are you doing here?”
“I came to watch the girls practice. I do wish to address the team, though.”
“Yes, of course, go right ahead.”
“Girls, you all play wonderfully. I am going to echo what your coach has said. Just relax when you are serving or returning the ball. When you hit the ball, you do it with the racquet that is in your hand. When you extend your when you hit the ball, that is all the strength you need. You don’t have to hit the ball, like your opponent is in the nexy county. Just relax, and hit the ball with your racquet. In less than half an hour, you will be going to Gaynor to play the Lady Cougars. Good luck, ladies.”
“Thank you, Miss Constantine. Ladies, let’s get your equipment put away, so we can go. I see the bus coming. Let’s all be on our best behavior.” The bus stopped right by the tennis courts. “Alright, everybody get on the bus.”
Chapter 2 - Gaynor greets their opponent, smugly.
It is a twenty minute ride to Gaynor from Hampton. The girls started singing we are the varsity girls from Hampton Senior High School, to the tune of the victory song of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). The bus pulled up to the gate of the clay tennis court area of Gaynor High. The security guard opened the gate so that the girls could get in to the court area. Once they were in, the guard locked the gate so that no non-ticket holders could get to the stands. Gaynor was famous for that.
The girls set up their racquets on their side of the court. They took a few tennis balls, and began the pregame practice sessions. The girls were waiting for the Gaynor tennis team to come out on the court. Little did the Hampton Lady Tigers know, but that the Gaynor Lady Cougars were watching the practice sessions from inside the school. Finally, the Gaynor team captain said, “let’s go”.
The Lady Cougars went out on to the courts, and set up their equipment. All the while they were doing this, they were watching the Lady Tigers. They thought that maybe they could pick up any secret plays they may have hatched since the tournament was called on account of rain. The Gaynor Lady Cougars were very sneaky when it came to playing an opponent.
Ms. Olga Svenson was again the chair umpire. When all the line unpires were in place, Ms. Svenson called time, signaling the end of practice. Ms. Svenson addressed the two schools.
“This is a continuation of the tournament that was started yesterday, but was called on account of rain. We are again pleased to have Miss Debbie Constantine from the MHSAA here. A word of warning, first and last. If there are any shenanigans like there have been from either school, I will clear the offending school’s bleachers. I am specifically addressing the Gaynor side. We will have sportsmanlike conduct, or there will be a winner by lottery. Now, will the first players please take their sides of the court.”
Mary Whithers from Hampton and Judy Springer from Gaynor, went out on the court. The coin toss already having been done, Judy served first. Her first serve was in and Mary returned it for a score.
Love-15,” Ms. Svenson called.
Judy took her, “I’ve got you, now”, stance, and hit the ball so hard it went out of bounds.
Judy served her second ball and it hit her side of the net.
“Love-30, Hampton.” The Gaynor side booed for several minutes. Olga Svenson turned up the volume on her microphone, causing it to have that screeching background noise. “Gaynor, if you want to watch your team win, play by play, I suggest you control yourself. This is tennis not the WWE. The next outburst from Gaynor, and the Gaynor side will be cleared … again! Remember yesterday, ladies and gentleman. I will do the same thing today, if I have to.”
There was silence, except for one student who thought he would not be caught. He snuck over to the Hampton side and said, “bring on the fag”. Debbie Constantine, knowing Hampton would not say that about their own player(s), ordered security to bring the offending student to the principal’s office.
Thinking he had not been seen, Randy Sparks, a Gaynor high student, snuck back to the Gaynor side. Security had followed him over, and told him he had to come with him.
“I’m not going anywhere with you, rent-a-cop.”
“Oh! You certainly are.”
Derrick Sampson was employed by the school district to keep order in the school. He was almost forty years old, and has had to take many a student to the principal’s office. Now, because Debbie Constantine was involved, Derrick will enjoy taking this student to get his just desserts.
In the meantime, the tournament continued. Judy’s next serve was returned by Mary, and lasted for eight minutes, when Judy, thinking she hit the perfect lob, hit the ball out of bounds.
Judy’s next serve was for an ace.
But, the next serve was a duble fault, and Judy threw down her racquet.
“Game, Hampton. Gaynor, it appears that your student body is being taught the wrong way to play tennis. This is a sport and sportsmanlike conduct will be observed at all times. You would do well, Gaynor, to take a lesson from your opponent. They at least, observe the rules of etiquette. This is why, maybe, they win more games than you do. Now, let’s have no more rowdiness, or I will clear the Gaynor bleachers like I did yesterday. Gaynor parents and staff, caution your charges that no matter who the offender is, I will blame the entire student body that is assembled here. Let’s continue, then.”
The next two players to take the court were Susan Winters from Hampton high school, and Ginger Marks from Gaynor. It was Ginger’s serve.
Ginger Marks was not like the other Gaynor players. She had respect, and knew how to relax when she was playing. Her auburn, shoulder length hair complimented her perfect smile. Her figure was a little less than siren beautiful, but not by much. Yet, even though she was popular, she wasn’t stuck up or prudish. She didn’t think she was God’s gift to anyone or anything.
Ginger served the ball, and the volley lasted nine minutes, eight seconds, before Ginger hit the ball in to her side of the net.
“Love-15,” Ms. Olga Svenson called.
Ginger’s next serve was an ace.
Ginger was going to give Susan a run for her money. Ginger would be the best player to play against Leigh. But, right for now, she was playing against Susan. Ginger’s next serve was returned and the volley lasted for an entire four minutes, when Susan hit the ball so it landed just inside the far right corner.
“Get out of there, Ginger. Let a real tennis player play.”
“ONE MORE WORD of warning, Gaynor. That outburst was uncalled for. If I hear another outburst like that, or just another outburst, I WILL clear the stands.”
Security removed the student from the game, amid threats of this ain’t over yet, and something about Hampton had better lose. Two security officers took the student to the principal’s officer, where Debbie Constantine was waiting.
“So, Mr. Conrad, you don’t seem to know what good manners are. You have no etiquette to speak of, which is obvious by the way you slovenly wear your clothes. Your parents, I saw, aren’t here, so I called them. They are on the way. The other two students who couldn’t or wouldn’t control themselves, have been suspended pending an expulsion hearing before the school board.”
Ginger served again, and apparently was a little rattled by the outburst. Her first ball hit her side of the net, and her second ball was hit out for a double fault.
Ginger served again and it was returned. Ginger ran to hit it back, but didn’t make it in time.
“Game, Hampton,” Ms. Olga Svenson called. “Good game, ladies. We are going to take a break. If any of the players and students need to use the facilitites, now is the time. Let me warn you. If there is any funny business in the restrooms, I will disqualify both schools for engaging in fighting, whether it is just name calling, or an actual physical fight. Do I … make myself … clear?”
A resounding “yes” came from the players and their parents and staff. The players returned to their respective locker rooms, to use the facilities. The parents had to use the public restrooms. But, the parents wanted their child to help their school go state finals, where the best team in the state would go to the nationals, in Jacksonville, Florida. So, there was no fighting of any kind in any of the restrooms. Twenty minutes later, everybody was back in the stadium and seated.
“Let this tournament continue. Thank you for being orderly during the break.”
Leigh Anne Smythe of Hampton High, and Georgia Simons of Gaynor took the court.
“Ladies, the winner of these games, will take their school to the state semi-finals and finals. The winning school at state, will go on to the national tournament in Jacksonville, Florida. Ladies, you may begin when you are ready.”
Georgia served her first ball and Leigh returned it. Georgia could keep up with the pace that Leigh was returning the ball at. This volley went on for only a few minutes, before Leigh lobbed to the left hand corner of Georgia’s side of the court.
“Love-15,” Olga Svenson said with a wry smile.
Georgia was getting angry, now, because she was playing the star player of Hampton Senior High School. She served again, and Leigh returned the ball. Only this time, however, Leigh hit it in such a way, that the ball hit right at Georgia’s right foot. This not could not be returned, but, where the ball landed, made it impossible to return.
Georgia was one of those players that, when she didn’t get the score, got angrier and angrier as time went by. Georgia served her next two balls and they ended up as a double fault.
Ms. Olga Svenson was having a wonderful time calling the score in favor of Hampton, because they didn’t go around calling people names. It was the tennis squad that actually approched Leigh and asked her to substitute for Janey Mitchell, who, by the way, is still out recuperating from a sprained elbow.
Georgia, by now, had mustered enough anger to hit her next serve out of bounds. She served again hitting her side of the net.
“Game, Hampton Senior High School.” Olga called out, with a big smile on her face. “Ladies and gentlemen, staff, students and players, this concludes the finals of the regional tournament. The winning school is Hampton Senior High School.” Of course, there were boos from the Gaynor side. “Apparently, some people are sore losers, but, the ruling from the chair stands. Hampton having won all sets, and having kept their composure during the times there was drama in the games, which I might add, is very hard to do, it is Hampton Senior High School that has earned the chance to go to the semi-finals and finals at state. The state semi-finals and finals will be hel at MSU in Lansing. You all have a good day.”
Ms. Olga Svenson covered the microphone, and climbed out of the chair. She went over by by Mrs. Madison, and the Hampton Lady Tigers for the presentation of the trophies. Appatrntly, Gaynor didn’t want their second place trophy, as the players had all left the court area, and the spectators were also leaving. Like Ms. Svenson said, Gaynor did not play well with others, and were sore losers. Miss Debbie Constantine of the MHSAA was on hand while the superintendent of the school district, presented the trophy to the Lady Tigers of Hampton Senior High School. See you at state.
Authors Note: This story is being submitted under the name of Susan Marie Kelly, but, in actuality, is really being submitted by Barbara Lynn Terry. The reason for the Kelly name, is because I forgot my original login information. Thank you all for reading and commenting.
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