Fenny Vail: The Story Behind An Underdog - Part Two
“I am your next best defender.”
He sneered. “Princess, go home. You’re too young for this game,” he told me, implying that not only did my gender matter, but my age did too. I looked at him for a moment, almost wondering if he was serious or not. I concluded that he was, and turned away. Once I began walking, he moved down the line once more, continuing to ask people questions.
After leaving view of the yooyuball field, I began to crumble. My confidence had crashed, and I felt like the ground had fallen out from under my feet. I was no longer on stable ground within myself.
Somehow I made my way home, tears rolling from my eyes and legs tired. I stumbled into my house, running through the kitchen, down the stairs and into my bedroom in the basement. Everything was an obscure blur, something that needed no attention as I flung myself on my bed, face staring at the posters on my ceiling. I could hardly stand to view Rinok Fitel and the rest of the Terror Mountain team, as I felt like a failure.
How did I dare go to the tryout? It was just a rumor. Everything seemed too crazy as I thought it all over. Dayla did try and convince me to not try out and instead go for track. Why didn’t I listen to her?
The answer was simple: I was a yooyuball player. Nothing else could make me feel right; yooyuball was the only answer.
And from nowhere, a yellow envelope appeared over my stomach and hovered there. My eyes seemed to dry when I realized it was a neomail. I sniffled and slowly peeled open the envelope. The air was familiar, it was from Dayla. I smiled a bit; I had at least made one friend.
Like sorry if this is interrupting your practice!!
No one else I know digs the yooyuball scene, so I was kinda wondering if you’d want to go to the Roo Island vs. Krawk Island pre-season game tomorrow at the Bounce Dome! Sorry it’s kinda late notice, but I didn’t know anyone to invite before! Please get back to me soon, and tell me how the practice-tryout thingies went!
I cracked up at how simple and kind the neomail was. Of course, I was a bit shocked, but I knew I would have to get back to her soon, so I dried my eyes and made my way up to the kitchen, where my mom was.
“Hey, Ma, umm...” I started, twiddling my thumbs, “Can I go to the yooyuball game tomorrow with a friend?” I asked, smiling.
“Have you been crying?” my mother asked, squinting and tilting her head to get a better view. “And yes, you can go.”
I shook my head crazily. “Naw, no, must be allergies,” I lied, before turning to walk back down the steps to my room. “And thanks!”
I gave a thumbs-up to another Terror Mountain team poster I taped to the side of my dresser. “I’m still going to play yooyuball,” I told the poster, rubbing my eyes.
Afterwards, I sat down on my bed and picked out a book on Roo Island’s team that I had bought recently. I opened it, and began to read up on stats of the players. Before reading that book, or even before reaching Roo Island, I didn’t know much about their team. All that I knew was that Gordo Gunnels was the best defender I had ever seen play the game, and that one day I wanted to work with him. What I didn’t know was that day would come sooner than I expected.
That night I slept dreams of yooyuball, great dreams. I dreamt that I would one day play yooyuball and break hundreds of records, and then I dreamt that I had to play yooyuball in a pool of jelly to get into a team I really wanted to belong to.
The next morning, I shook off the strange dreams and dressed for the yooyuball game. The previous day I had bought some clothes, but not that much. I decided to wear a pair of blue jean shorts and a red T-shirt. Red and green were the team’s colors anyways. I slipped on my black and white tennis shoes and headed upstairs for breakfast.
I left for the Bounce Dome an hour before Dayla and I were planning to meet. I had to walk there, and once there, I would explore. I had never walked around that area, and I expected it would be pretty tourist-friendly, considering the area was surrounding the Bounce Dome.
If there was one thing I noticed, walking around the Bounce Dome, it was that the Roo Island fans were inspiring. It looked like almost everyone that lived on the island was there at the game. Everyone was all so colorful, with their painted faces and emblem’d shirts. At one point, I’m sure I saw the king- yes, King Roo, amongst the crowd. There were all ages, little kids and older folk were all gathered. Everyone was in such a bubbly, happy, kind mood. I felt proud just to be standing amongst the crowd, watching all the happy faces pass by. It was impressive to stand there and watch them all pass.
When I finally did meet up with Dayla, I was pretty happy to be there with her. She had brought some face paint for me and she knew exactly where our seats were. So, of course, we trudged off to our seats first, not stopping to buy any souvenirs.
“So, you likin’ the weather here?” Dayla asked me.
“It’s so hot all the time. It is kind of like I am melting,” I joked in reply. “The yooyuball team didn’t want me—Coach sent me home early yesterday.”
She frowned. “If you really, absolutely, totally want in, I could talk to Lilo, the captain. He’s a senior.” Then she smirked before bringing up one of her favorite topics again. “If it doesn’t work out, you could always join us on the track team. We are constantly looking for more people.”
“I would appreciate it if you would,” I told Dayla, beaming. “Oh, look! It’s about to start!” I said, pointing to the center of the field. The yooyu was about to be released.
The game started out slowly—Krawk Island’s defense was strong enough to keep out anything, including an attack from Sloth. The goalie caught three different shots, and returned them all to the field. Roo Island was aggressive, though, and approached with everything they had. The bells on their uniform jingled against the echoes of the stadium, and their outfits looked wonderful as they bounced to the yooyu and back.
The game ended three hours and forty-five minutes later, with Roo Island winning 6 to 4. I was so excited the entire game through, it was just so motivating. I vowed right then that I would play on the Roo Island team one day.
I had found my inspiration to get up and try the team again; now everything was resting on Dayla. It was up to her to speak to Lilo.
After stopping by a souvenir stand to buy a T-shirt, we parted ways. As she waved me good-bye, Dayla promised that she’d ‘totally give Lilo a holla on the teamy thingy.’
Two days later, after my first official day of school, Dayla introduced me to Lilo. He was about two heads taller than me, and twice as strong as me. He was a tough looking guy, but still seemed a bit approachable. He was definitely a great yooyuball player, and I was delighted that he would take time out to let me try out for the time.
“So, yuh Fen-en?” he asked me, sitting on the grass, plucking pieces of grass from the yooyuball field behind the school. His yooyu, a basic yooyu named Ralph, rolled around at his feet, bouncing at random times.
I nodded vigorously. “I am an excellent defender, I promise. I have played in 5 different tournies on Roo Island, coming out ahead on all of ‘em.” I felt a small need to elaborate. “I would be playing on my old team again this year if I wouldn’t have moved. Seriously, I’m not pulling your leg; I can play this game.”
He whistled, beckoning Ralph. “Kay, think fast.” He scooped up Ralph and flung him past me. I dove to my left and scooped him up with my left hand. Before hitting the ground, I tossed him at Dayla as a reflex.
She sprinted to catch Ralph in her arms. Lilo whistled again, this time to get my attention. I fumbled and rushed to push myself back up. He folded his arms. “I’ll see whuh I can duh; nuh promise,” he told me and beckoned Ralph over.
Dayla tossed Ralph back to him and beamed as Lilo started to leave in the opposite direction. I squealed and hugged Dayla.
“I think I just made the team!”
To be continued...