Tuesday Night Lights
Arms, heavy. Knees, weak. Palms, sweaty. The other team, trash talking already; very petty. This is it. The big game. The palestra lights are blinding as the challengers take the court, the intense heat from the bulbs already beginning to burn their skin. Their faces, though, are stoic; they have spent countless hours preparing for this moment, and they know what they must do. The referee, a disinterested and disgruntled varsity athlete who is probably getting paid enough to make the effort to hide their contempt that they must preside over these lesser humans and their silly non-varsity games, lazily inquires “be this the team of 4002, the Tip Squad?” The combatants only nodded in affirmation and took their positions.
Their leader, Celine Lee, knew they were in for a difficult road. This year, she had been without the other half of her old dynamic duo, John Killoran, who had left to join the big leagues. No longer would he be there to provide the perfect set, allowing Celine to deliver a devastating and unstoppable spike deep into the enemy lines. As she scanned the faces of her fellow OTeam members, her fears were immediately assuaged. She saw a fire in their eyes that could not be extinguished. It was a shining gleam that could not be taught, bought, or bargained for. It was the gleam of sheer determination. The determination to have as much fun as possible with their Tip Squad brothers and sisters in the last game of the season. The gleam was still there when the opposing team comprised entirely of washed up frat brothers took the field. It was still there when their volleys sailed far out of the opponents bound and the jeers of the opposing team rang out louder than the smack of the ball on the wooden floor. Celine didn’t have to keep looking for it; the laughs and encouraging words of her teammates were more than enough proof that the fire burned bright throughout their 25 to 12 loss. 25 to 12. Not even the fact that they had failed to meet even half of their opponents points was enough to diminish a single iota of their fun. They were giddy with delight; their rapturous pleasure knew no limits. The team gathered in one final embrace to celebrate their win.
As the small circle tightened their embrace, Celine felt a tug on the back of her shirt. It was little Willy O’Hare, a freshman pledge who had come to watch every game but never said a word. In a voice barely above a whisper, he said, “God bless us, everyone.” The team erupted in a cheer. They hoisted Willy above their heads and carried him out of the arena, cheering and singing Glory Glory Dear Old Thermo at the top of their lungs. And thus ended the tale of 4002 Tip Squad. Well, at least until next year.
A big thank you to Celine Lee, Matt Fohner, Craig Jahnke, Teddy Kurkoski, Selina Nie, Eli Gottlieb, Keen Butcher, Jacob Snyder, Ingemar Falcones, Vera Lee, Danielle Tsougarakis, Sean Waxman-Lenz, Jason Wang, and others for making this an unforgettable year for Tip Squad.
** Written by Craig