Fenny Vail: The Story Behind An Underdog - Part One
Most people think the same thing about girl Usuls—we’re all girly girls who chill at Usuki Conventions 24/7. Sadly, that’s a really shallow lie. Some girls might fit that stereotype, but not me. I’ve always been one of the guys. A jock, if you must label me. Other girls might choose to be the cheerleader, but I’m the one on the field. I’m Fenny Vail, a tough Yooyuball player. But don’t just take my word on being a serious guy-type, listen and believe me for my life’s work.
This story of my real ambition starts in high school. My parents moved from Terror Mountain to Roo Island before school started. That part was cool with me; at least I wouldn’t be the awkward new kid. Unfortunately, there was a bad side; I would be leaving my inside yooyuball team before the season began. The only thing I had was the hope that the kids on Roo Island liked yooyuball like I did. If they didn’t, I would have been awfully alone on the little island.
Things started out a little bumpy- half of our clothes weren’t delivered, my yooyuball box was left in the basement and we had to put my beloved fire yooyu, Candy, up for adoption. To put the icing on the cake, my first day of school on Roo Island wasn’t all that great. I would be attending Roo Isle Secondary School, the local public school.
I’ll start by stating the obvious setbacks: I was new to the area, new to the weather, and new to the clothes. Finding anything was amazingly difficult, even with the island tour we had taken when we had arrived to try to map out key locations. I had no clue where to find a library or a way to the beach. The only places I knew were my new house, the Bounce Dome (Roo Island’s Yooyuball field) and I had an idea of where my school was. The weather was completely strange to me. I had never been somewhere where the temperature was constantly so high. Walking hand in hand with the weather was the clothes to wear on Roo Island. I didn’t own any shorts, short sleeved shorts or sandals. Clearly, I stuck out like a sore thumb when it came to going anywhere.
So when it came to interacting with other kids on that first day of school at Roo Island Secondary, I was definitely at a disadvantage. When I arrived at the school’s freshman orientation, I expected everyone to be a bit shy too, not knowing anyone. Boy, was I wrong. Our class of twenty-something kids all were tight already. It was an everyone-knows-everyone type of situation. The cliques were already set in stone when I entered the gymnasium for the beginning of orientation.
It took me a couple of seconds to realize not only that everyone already had their friends, but that this was really all of the kids in my class. Back at Terror Mountain, there were at least a hundred kids in my grade. This was a foreign concept to me; only having twenty-something kids in a class.
I approached the bleachers optimistically, bouncing as I walked. I could feel everyone’s eyes on me as I stepped onto the first level of the bleacher and looked up to see who I could sit by. I tightened my raspberry-red Usul pigtails and beamed through my metal braces, hoping there would be someone who wouldn’t mind sitting by me. The first opening I saw, I accepted. There was a space by a pink Kyrii who was busy chatting with her JubJub friend. When I sat down, she turned to look at me, and her face fell from glee to shock.
“You’re sitting by me whyyyy?” she asked, straightening her cherry-red T-shirt. Her dark brown eyes surveyed what I was wearing, a pair of blue jean pants, black and white tennis shoes, and a light green hoodie.
“Sorreh, this was the only spot I saw left open! I hope you don’t mind. My name’s Fenny and I’m kind of new to this area,” I spilled, hoping to be able to make friends with her. “What’s your name?” I asked in reply, smiling as much as I could.
She smirked viciously at the tone of my voice; oh great, she thought my voice was humorously squeaky. “Eh... Whatever,” the Kyrii replied in a cold tone, her gaze reverting to the JubJub she was talking to previously.
I was rejected, but it was common to me. People often saw me as the black babaa, the reject of the pack. I was a rather bookish looking Usul, a red haired Usul with freckles and a set of heavy braces. Then there was my voice, it is still the same pitch, extremely high. It hasn’t changed once in my life, so I sound very much like a child. I didn’t exactly appear to be the cool kid or someone who would be chilling with Garin anytime soon. But that was okay with me, I felt as though I was secure with myself and no matter what anyone could say I would remain secure and confident.
I folded my hands on my lap and flicked my tail, which was tied into a bun, and hummed the Curse of Maraqua theme song to myself quietly. My eyes remained on the door, where I expected a teacher to enter any time soon.
Just like I expected, a middle-aged, female green Wocky walked into the room, with a binder at her side. She looked professional and ready to scold. She watched us with hostility, and stopped walking when she arrived straight in front of us. Her fingers started flipping through her binder, and a hand selected a ballpoint pen from behind one of her Wocky ears. She was there to take roll.
Everything was in alphabetical order, of course. She started with pets from usernames that began with numbers and then went from A to Z. Her list seemed to go on forever, even though there was so few of us. I could tell that I was going to be the last one on the list when she skipped from K to R. Her voice seemed to only skim my name as she pronounced, “...and Fenny Vail?”
I felt as if I had no clue on what to do, but I really knew what I needed to say in response. “Present,” I squeaked in reply, cringing in how the other students would respond to my voice.
I saw the teacher’s ear quiver when she heard my voice, but she continued on and marked that I was there. “Next subject of business: Your classes. You have all been assigned to classes according to your grade average. You may pick up your schedules when orientation is over. They will be in the main office. All of you will have morning homeroom in the same homeroom, lunch, at one of three possible times, and all of you will have the same afternoon homeroom. Questions?”
Everyone understood, or at least pretended to, because she continued on, “Good. There will be hand-outs in the main office for fall sports and the homecoming dance if you wish to pick them up. You are to return the sports papers by next Tuesday if you want to try out for a team and the homecoming paper must be returned by next Wednesday if you will be attending.”
She almost didn’t seem to stop; she just kept on going. All this information was just supposed to sink in, I assume. For a moment, she looked like she was going to ask if there were any questions, but then she glanced over at a sticky note placed conveniently on her binder.
“Oh, the main office would like for me to tell all of you that there was an error on the sports sheet... Freshman can not try out for the Yooyuball team this year. Please ignore that part of the sheet.” She spoke these words as if they were just something obscure, but it was amazingly significant, and I heard a few groans coming from behind me as she mentioned this.
I timidly raised my hand, almost afraid of her calling on me. “Excuse me, but why can’t we try out for the Yooyuball team?” I queried when she gestured at me. I saw her ear twitch as I spoke, and heard giggles coming from a few other students due to my voice.
“Not enough spots on the team, dahling. Now, moving on to more important matters...” She rambled on, as if Yooyuball was just a side note. The teacher spoke for about forever, and it didn’t seem like she’d ever let us go.
“Before I let you guys go home for the evening, you’re welcome to socialize for a little bit. Also, the sophomore orientation was going on earlier in the café, so don’t be shocked if you see them in the main office as well.” She picked up her stuff and exited, not stopping to look at us.
There was a cheer from a group of boys, and about everyone laughed. I was the first to stand and make my way down the bleachers. From the left of me, I heard someone say, “Hey toon-voice, where ya goin’ so soon?” I didn’t even stop to respond, I was used to comments like that. Instead, I kept on walking.
When I left the gymnasium, I didn’t stop walking and just kept on my way to the main office. Luckily, the school was small and well labeled, so I didn’t get lost. When I arrived, there was a group of sophomore girls there, chatting with a Tuskaninny who worked behind the desk. I could overhear them speaking about sports.
One of them, a red Lenny, started talking about Yooyuball. “Yeah, can you believe that Lilo completely stranded the freshmen?” she asked the other girls, leaning on the desk.
The Tuskaninny spoke up. “I heard that they just want to meet the more ambitious ones that will show up anyways.”
That was it, my heart skipped. I couldn’t believe what I just heard. I approached the desk with pride and looked to the Tuskaninny with interest. “Could I please have my schedule, please? Vail, Fenny.” I picked up a sports flier and glanced over at the Lenny. “Do you know when yooyuball practice is?” I asked her, thrilled.
“Here you go honey,” the Tuskaninny told me, handing me my schedule. “But that was a rumor, don’t go out on that alone,” she advised me, smiling.
The Lenny said something of the same manner, “They’re having tryouts early so Freshies aren’t expected to slide in. They’re tonight.” She seemed nice, and didn’t even seem to notice my voice. “But don’t think that yooyuball is the only sport; you could just as easily try out for field and get in.”
“I’m Fenny.” I introduced myself to her, extending my hand to shake hers.
“Dayla,” she responded, shaking my hand. “The tryouts are at 6 NST, on the back field. The coach is super stingy, so if you are going to go out on a limb and try out, be on time and with your equipment.”
I nodded. “You trying out?” I asked her, noting her knowledge of the tryouts.
She shook her head. “Sorry, more of a runner. My aim isn’t strong. I stick to track.”
“Ah. That’s cool. I’ve gotta run home quick and get my yooyuball equipment, so I guess I’ll talk to you later.” I told her, starting to head out.
She waved. “I’ll neomail ya later.”
That evening, I showed up at the practice, clad in new clothes, and all the padding the sport required. I put my sports form on the stack along with others on a bench before heading off to the field to warm up.
After five minutes, the coach lined us up and started reading off the forms. He looked at each of us as we responded to questions on our paperwork. He started with Lilo, the head of the team, he asked, “Why should I let you back on the team, Blumario?”
The Blumaroo replied strongly with his deep accent, “I got thuh arm yuh need tuh score points.”
“Fair,” he concluded, and asked similar questions to everyone there. When he came to me, he sneered. “How did you even find out about this, Fenny? Freshmen aren’t allowed.”
I swallowed my fear and replied in a serious tone, “I am determined to join this team. I found my way to get here, and now I’m here.”
Some of the teammates broke down into laughter at my voice, and the coach smirked. “Who are you, really, Fenny Vail?” he asked me, bending over to become level with me.
“I am your next best defender.”
To be continued...