Leigh Anne - Chapter 24
By Barbara Lynn Terry
(Disclaimer: If there are any real high schools, or any real students of these high schools with the same names as they appear in this chapter, said mention of said schools and students, is strictly coincidental. Barbara Lynn Terry)
Part 1 - On the way to Lansing.
After the girls completed their laundry, and had everything packed. Mrs. Madison went to the office to check out. She was in luck, because the hotel office was just about to close.
The girls put their bags in the trunks of both cars. Leslie Rhymes took Colleen Sanders, Mary Whithers, Leigh Anne Smythe, and Donna Sanchez, with her. Mrs. Madison took Cheryl Masters, Patricia Langston, Darlene Haskins, and Dorothy Winston, with her. Lansing was about a three hour drive from the Greater Midland Tennis Center. Maybe even two and one half hours.
As they drove along, Leslie beeped her horn and Mrs. Pulled on to the shoulder of the highway. Leslie and Mrs. Madison got out and Leslie Rhymes told Mrs. Madison that there was a rest stop not far up the road.
“I think we should stop there and see if anyone needs to use the restroom. It will give us a chance to stretch our legs for a bit,” Leslie told Mrs. Madison.
“I think you’re right, Leslie. Alright, then, we will stop,” Mrs. Madison said, agreeing with Leslie.
The two women told the girls in their cars what they talked about. They all agreed that it was a good idea to stop.
After driving for a bit further, they came to the rest stop. Mrs. Madison and Leslie took the entrance and parked in the automobile parking area. The girls looked past the building and saw many semi trucks that were parked. Mrs. Madison explained that these rest stops were made so that eighteen wheeler drivers could sleep for their required eight hours.
The group went in to the building and the girls used the restroom. After they were finished, they decided to walk around for a bit and keep the blood flowing. They did stretches, toe touches, jumping jacks and a little jogging back and forth in front of the building.
After they were finished, they all got back in the cars they arrived in, and Mrs. Madison and Leslie got back on the highway. From Midland, to Lansing, is not a straight drive. They had to go down one highway, on to another highway, and still another. They arrived at the MSU Tennis Center and registered at the registration desk.
“Oh! You’re the Hampton Lady Tigers. Well, welcome to the MSU Tennis Center. My name is Carol, and I will be one of the line judges during the games. Good Luck.”
Carol Jameson is 26 years old, with sun yellow, blonde hair, and piercing blue eyes. Carol is a student at MSU having graduated from her four years, but stayed in school to further her studies in law. She is almost ready to graduate and become a full fledged attorney at law.
In the meantime, she took part in extracurricular activities. She loved the game of tennis, and has competed on the college level. Of course, you will never in a quad trillion years, guess what high school is her alma mater. I will give you a clue. It starts with a “G”.
The girls, Mrs. Madison, and Leslie Rhymes, were unaware of this fact. They did not know that Carol was a Gaynor alumnus. Carol was unaware that the Hampton Lady Tigers did not have the regional championship trophy in their possession. But Carol Jameson vowed she would find it, because it had to be in their rooms.
The tournament started the day after tomorrow, so the Lady Tigers had a whole day to practice. They wanted to be the best in the state of Michigan, at least for this championship competition.
They all went to the nearest hotel, and Mrs. Madison registered for two rooms. She insisted that the rooms had to be next to each other. With the keys in hand, the girls went out to the cars and got their gear. They took everything to their rooms.
This hotel had free cable and internet for the guests. When the girls saw that, they were very happy. Now, they could watch movies before going to bed. This would be right after dinner, because Mrs. Madison wanted the girls to get a proper night’s sleep.
“Ladies, how tired are you?” Mrs. Madison asked.
“Very tired, Mrs. Madison,” Leigh Anne told her tennis coach. “The trip tired us all out.”
“Does everyone feel the same way?”
“Yes, Mrs. Madison,” a chorus of girls answered,
“Then let’s go and get something to eat, and then come back here and get ready for bed. Tomorrow, we will go and practice. I will look online to find a park with tennis courts.”
They all went out to the cars and headed to Bob Evans*. When they got to the restaurant, the parking lot was full, save for one parking space. Leslie parked her car on the street in a two hour parking zone.
Mrs. Madison and the girls waited for the others, before going in. When everybody was together, they all went in and were seated in the back in two booths. The discussion was about the strategy they were going to use at the tournament tomorrow.
There was a park not far from Bob Evans. Mrs. Madison, however, decided on a park further away from where they ate. This was just in case the other teams were at the one near the Bob Evans they were just at.
They arrived at a park that was on the other side of town. They went to the park building and asked if they could use the tennis courts. The man said they were free courts for anybody to use. But, he said, that it was first come first serve. No pun intended, he added.
There were four courts. Mrs. Madison and Leslie divided two of the courts. Leslie would be the judge on one court, while Mrs. Madison would be the judge on the other. Leigh and Colleen were up first on Leslie’s court. Patty and Darlene were up first on Mrs. Madison’s court.
“Girls, remember what we talked about at the restaurant. I want to see aggressive playing.”
Colleen and Patty were the first servers on their respective courts.
Colleen served to Leigh, who not only returned the ball, but slammed it fast toward Colleen, who could not return it.
“Love - 15.” Leslie called.
Patty served to Darlene, and their volley was still going on, when Colleen served for the second points. Leigh returned the ball. Colleren returned, but Leigh slammed the ball again, only this time with a curve, making the ball land at Colleen’s feet. Even though Colleen backed up to return the ball, it had bounced twice and the points went to Leigh.
“Love - 30,” Leslie called the score.
On Patty and Darlene’s court, the score was 15-15. Patty served again, for an ace.
“30-15.” Mrs. Madison called. Patty served again, but this time, Darlene returned the ball and there was a battle for the next points.
On Leigh’s court, there was a battle for the next points, also. These girls were playing aggressively, as though they were playing against another school. By tomorrow, these girls will be ready to take on the state of Michigan high school regional champions. Good luck Hampton High School Lady Tigers.
It was Love-30 in favor of Leigh Anne, and tied at 15 for Patty and Darlene. Leslie called a time out for the players to rest a bit. At the tournament, though, there will be no breaks, intil after they played at least one set. These breaks were so the players could get a drink of their energy drink, and some water so they didn’t dehydrate themselves. The chair judge would call time, and the players would resume playing. Mrs. Madison called time, and the players took their places, except Mrs. Madison had them switch sides of the court. They won’t do this in a real competition, until the next game or set.
On Colleen and Leigh’s court, the score is Love - 30. On Patty and Darlene’s court the score is 30 - 15. Colleen and Patty were the first servers on their respective courts.
Colleen served to Leigh, and Leigh returned the ball in a chip shot. The score was now Love - 40 in Leigh’s favor. Patty served to Darlene, who returned the ball on a hard slam. Their score was now 30 all. It appeared that regardless of what they faced the day after tomorrow, these girls were ready for the state championship semi-finals and finals.
But, unknown to Leigh and company, there was skullduggery going on at their hotel. Carol Jameson was going through their baggage, drawers, and she even looked in the restroom. She was very disappointed in not finding the regional championship trophy. Carol left the rooms occupied by the Hampton Lady Tigers.
Back at the practice courts, Colleen served to Leigh, and Leigh returned the ball. The volley was going and going. Patty served to Darlene, and their volley was also lasting as each of the girls kept returning the ball. But, in every game, somebody always messes up. Leigh returned the ball to Colleen who hit it in to her side of the net.
“Game, Leigh Anne,” Mrs. Madison called.”
After returning the ball to Darlene, Patty started moving to the left. Darlene saw a chance to get the next score. Darlene hit the on Patty’s side, but, it hit the far corner, opposite of where Patty was.
“30 - 40,” Leslie Rhymes called. Darlene needed just one more point to win the game.
Patty served the ball, but, Darlene slammed it for the win.
“Game, Darlene Haskins,” Leslie called.
“Ladies, you all played very well. This is ehat I meant by aggressive playing. We have time for the other girls to practice.
“I want Dorothy Winston and Donna Sanchez on court one, while Cheryl Masters and Mary Whithers take court two. Mary, you will serve first, Donna, you will serve first on your court. Alright, girls, take your courts.
The girls went on to the courts, and did a few practice shots. Mrs. Madison called time. Mary served to Cheryl. Cheryl returned the ball, and the game was on. Donna served to Dorothy and that game started in earnest.
The volleys on both courts was going as though they were actually at the state tournament. Mary, however, hit the ball in to her side of the net.
“Love - 15,” Leslie Rhymes called.
Donna returned the ball for the fourth time. She tried a chip shot and it worked, as Dot could not return it.
“15 - Love,” Mrs. Madison called.
As the girls were on the courts, and practicing their game form, Carol Jameson was calling a few of the Gaynor parents. She was telling them she could not find the trophy. She was told it would be taken care of.
Mary served to Cheryl, but Cheryl slammed the ball back to Mary. Mary could not return it.
“Love - 30,” Leslie called. “Mary, you need to be more aggressive. Remember, ladies, the state tournament starts day after tomorrow. We will have one more day to practice our strategy and form. Mary, I have seen you play, now let’s get aggressive.
“Yes, Ms. Rhymes,” Mary answered.
“Ladies,” Leslie was saying. “You may call me Leslie. Ms. Rhymes is way too formal. I am not a formal type person.”
Mary served to Cheryl, and Cheryl returned the ball. The volley was going very well, when Mary hit the ball,
which hit the top of the net, and rolled over.
“15 - 30,” Leslie called.
Donna service to Dot ended in Donna getting the point. That was only because Dorothy attempted a slam, but it was called out.
“30 - Love,” Mrs. Madison called.
Donna and Mary served to their opponents at the same time. The volleys were going good, but, all good things must end. Dorothy and Cheryl returned the balls together, and Cheryl ended up with the point.
“30 - 15,” Mrs. Madison called the score.
“15 - 40,” Leslie called the score for her court.
Donna and Mary served again. Dorothy returned the ball in a spin. Donna could not return it.
“30 all,” Mrs. Madison called.
Mary and Cheryl were still volleying, when Donna served to Dot. Dorothy returned the ball for a score. Dorothy also put a spin on her return. However, Donna was able to return it for the score.
“40 - 30,” Mrs. Madison called the score.
On Cheryl’s next return, The ball landed at Mary’s left foot. This, of course, was impossible to return.
“Game, Cheryl,” Leslie called.
Donna served again, but it hit the net.
“Fault,” Mrs. Madison stated.
Donna served again, but it hit the net, again.
“Fault, deuce,” Mrs. Madison called. This game could only be won by a player getting two points more than the opponent.
Donna served again for an ace.
“Advantage, Donna,” was Mrs. Madison’s call.
Donna served again, hoping for the next score. She got, because she served another ace.
“Game, Donna. Ladies, toy all did very well. Tomorrow, we will start early and make a day of it. We need to win, and this last practice, tomorrow, will show us how good we are. I say we all go and get some dinner, and go back to the hotel. The girls all agreed.
Next chapter: More drama about the regional championship trophy. The girls do more practice.
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