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Chapter 5

"Slow down, you don't have a train to catch," mom said as I gulped down my juice and shoved down a couple of pop tarts.

"Actually, mom, I do," I said with my mouth full. "Jessi's mom will be here any minute. We're not supposed to be late for the GAC meeting."

"That brings back memories," mom said. "I was in GAC in middle school and high school."

GAC was the Girls Athletics Club. Membership was mandatory for all players on the girls athletics teams at the school. I thought being a boy would exclude me, I was wrong.

"You're an athlete in the girls' athletic department, period!" Coach Martin said. "End of discussion."

I heard the doorbell. It was Jessi's mom.

"Oh my gosh, Janice!" Jessi's mom said. "I had no idea you were Lucas' mom."

"It appears they know each other," Jessi said to me.

"We were teammates on the field hockey and swim teams back in the day," Jessi's mom said. "Janice, you missed a great game last night. Jessi played great. Lucas played great."

"I wished I could have gone, Karen," mom said. "Amber had dance rehearsal. Can't be in two places at once."

"We know all about dance rehearsals at our house," Mrs. Mears said. "Both my girls dance and play sports."

"Mom, we've got to go," Jessi said.

"OK, let's get to the car," Mrs. Mears said. "Lucas, did you tell your mom about the trip to McDonald's last night?"

I shook my head no.

"He was the star of the show there," she said. "Everybody wanted to talk to the boy field hockey player."

"It really wasn't a big deal," I said.

"It was no big deal?" Jessi said. "You are such a diva!"

####

GAC consisted of every female athlete in the school. Field hockey players, basketball players, gymnasts, volleyball players, track athletes, tennis players and softball players, they were all there.

I tried my best to stay awake as they went over the minutes of the last meeting. They mentioned something about a car wash on Saturday to raise money for the teams, selling candles for Christmas, I couldn't remember everything.

"I'd also like to congratulate the field hockey team for their victory over Sullins Academy," said Coach Patterson, the girls basketball and softball coach. "Huge win for you ladies."

We stood up for the applause.

She turned the meeting over to Bayliegh Greer, a volleyball and basketball player who was GAC's president. Gina was vice president. I was amazed there was an organization where Gina wasn't in charge.

"As you all know, homecoming is in four weeks," she said. "We have to have our nominations in today, so they can get the ballots printed for homecoming queen election. As you know, each organization gets an eighth grade attendant and a seventh grade attendant, with the eighth grade attendant up for queen."

"We'd really like to make a splash with our picks this year, and show up the cheerleaders," said Betsy Wiggins, another volleyball player.

"Fat chance of that happening," said one of my teammates, Emily Crue.

"Eighth grade nominees first," Bayliegh said.

Melanie nominated Gina. She was up against a basketball player, a gymnast and a volleyball player.

We wrote down our choices. And much to the field hockey team's delight, Gina won.

"I think you've got a really good chance to be GAC's first homecoming queen in a long time," Coach Martin said.

Coach Martin, in fact, was the last eighth grade homecoming queen who was a member of GAC.

I wasn't paying attention when nominations for seventh graders began. I was too busy talking to Jessi and Kim when Gina raised her hand and asked to address the club.

"I yield the floor to Vice President Lenetti," Bayliegh said.

"All of the names nominated so far are really good nominees," Gina said. "But Piper and I've got a nomination that would really help us make a splash. And I'd like to put this nomination up for acclamation."

Suddenly some of the girls started turning around and looking at me.

"Oh my God, dude, she's going to nominate you!" Jessi said.

I slumped down in my seat. It was impossible to hide.

"I'd like to place in nomination Lucas Lacy as our seventh grade attendant madame president," Gina said.

"Are there any seconds to this nomination?" Bayliegh.

Every field hockey player in the room seconded the motion.

"The nominee is ineligble to vote, all in favor raise your hand," Bayliegh said.

Every girl in the room raised her hand.

"I'd like to congratulate this year's GAC representatives to the homecoming court, Gina Lenetti and Lucas Lacy," our president said. "Good luck Gina!"

####

I was still in a state of shock when Beth Garrison came up to me while I was drinking from the water fountain.

"Went to the game last night, I thought you did great," she said.

"Thanks," I said. "I know you guys have a game tonight."

"Yup, and I'm really excited," Beth said. "I'm starting at receiver and punter. You going to come?"

"Yeah," I said. "Jessi's mom is taking us."

"Lucas, I've got a question to ask," she said. "Our bet only required you to join the field hockey team. How come you stayed on the team?"

I laughed.

"I really dig it," I said. "Even with all that I put up with. It's really fun."

She smiled.

"I think being a field hockey player suits you," she said.

"I also think you're hot wearing a skirt," she said, winking at me."

I blushed.

"Well, how about you?" I asked. "Do you like being on the football team."

"I've loved football all my life," she said. "Play against my brothers and the boys in the neighborhood all the time. Why shouldn't a girl play football if she wants to?"

I have to admit, I admired her. And I heard she was putting up with about as much as I was. But I also heard she did so well that she had won over her teammates.

"Well, got to run, Lucas," she said. "Oh yeah...I forgot to mention...I think it's really cool you're on the homecoming court, too!"

Evidently, word had already gotten out.

#####

"Homecoming court?" mom asked.

"Yeah, I know, it's really out there," I said.

"Playing field hockey is one thing," she said. "I really hope you know what you're getting into with that one."

Truth is, I didn't, other than being in the parade and being escorted out on the field.

"It was Gina's and Melanie's idea," I said. "They want GAC to make a splash.

"Oh, I'm sure they will with you on the court," she said. "But if it's something you really want to do, I'm all for it. I think its good you're taking being a good teammate seriously."

"I appreciate that mom, I really do," I said. "I've got to go up and change, Jessi's mom will be here in a few minutes."

I was up getting changed when our phone rang.

"OK Gina, I'll tell him," mom said. "Jessi already knows? OK. But I'm leaving it up to him."

"What's up mom?" I asked when I opened my bedroom door.

"Gina wants the field hockey players to sit as a team," she said. "She wants you guys to wear your uniforms, except its going to be a little cool out. She said her mom is hosting a 'sweatshirts and skirts' party after the game tonight."

Jessi and her mom were waiting when I came down the stairs.

"I see you got the message," Jessi said.

We looked like twins decked out in our sweatshirts, skirts and sneakers.

"Gina's mom told me about the party at her house after the game," Mrs. Mears said. "I'll drop you two off there after the game and pick you up at 11. I've also got blankets in the car in case your legs get a little cool at the game."

I hugged mom and got ready to rush out the door.

"Did you ask your mom yet?" Jessi asked before we got out the door.

"Ask me what?" mom said. I'm sure after me joining the field hockey team and being selected for the homecoming court, she was expecting even more bizarre news.

"Lucas and a couple of girls from the team are coming to ballet class with me in the morning," Jessi said.

"Ballet?" mom asked.

I rolled my eyes.

"Come on mom, you know boys can do ballet, too," I said.

"Boys can play field hockey, too," mom said. "But around here, boys usually don't do either."

####

It was a little cool at the game, but we really didn't seem to notice. We were having a good time. And I guess the novelty of me wearing a skirt was starting to wear off.

I didn't get teased too much. And I laughed off what teasing I went through with my teammates. I didn't mind the strength in numbers.

I tried not to look too enthusiastic when we did the cheers right along with the cheerleaders, although the girls on the team did some of the moves they did. I did, too, but tried not to make it too obvious.

I also tried to keep up with the game as much as I could. It was pretty exciting. I heard a few insults hurled Beth's way.

"I bet you understand what she's going through," Melanie Piper said to me.

"Uh, huh," I said.

Beth was shoved to the ground a couple of times, which drew penalties. She wasn't having a great game until end.

Josh Bryan was on the verge of being sacked. We trailed by seven. Beth was the only open receiver.

He threw the ball to her. She raced down the field and scored a touchdown, sending the game into overtime.

I was trying to explain the game to some of my teammates. Athletic as they were, they were clueless about football. That is everyone except me, Gina and Emily Crue.

"We're going on defense first," Gina said to me. "Come boys, hold them!"

Each team would get the ball at the 10 yard-line.

We held them to a field goal.

"If we score a touchdown, we win," I whispered to Jessi.

It didn't look good. Josh was sacked for a 15-yard loss on first down. A holding penalty pushed us back in further.

"It's too long to try a field goal," Gina whispered to me when the boys faced fourth down.

"They've got to try a hail Mary," I said.

"A hail what?" Jessi asked.

"A desperation pass," Emily chimed in.

Josh almost got sacked. He threw the ball into the air toward a mass of players waiting at the goal line.

One of our receivers leaped amazingly high, caught the pass and landed on top of one of the defenders in the end zone.

It was Beth!

Gina was grabbing me and shaking me. Emily hugged me.

Everybody went crazy.

Beth scored the winning touchdown.

We lined up at the edge of the bleachers and congratulated the boys as the headed to the locker-room.

"Way to go 2-2!" I yelled to Beth, who was talking to a sports reporter.

"Thanks 7!" she yelled back, blowing me a kiss.

I didn't think anyone noticed. I was wrong.

"Oh...I think you two would make a good couple," Gina said.

"Oh, yeah," Melanie said with a laugh. "And she's the one who would wear the pants in the relationship."

I looked down and noticed my skirt.

I didn't really know if I'd have a problem with that.

 



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