Biographical Non-Fiction posted August 12, 2021 Chapters:  ...20 21 -22- 23 


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Why Rule 9 Exists

A chapter in the book Ruminations from a Winding Career

Cheerleaders.2: Wait for Me

by Rdfrdmom2




Background
Memories from a long and winding career.
Forest Glen High School (FGHS) was one of the ten-member Virginia High School League’s Peanut District (so named as most of our schools were surrounded by peanut fields. One of the schools, Northampton, was the antithesis to this as it is located on the Eastern Shore of Virginia in the Town of Easton. This required the other nine teams in the district to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (CBBT) in order to play them.
 
In the 1970s, kickoff did not occur until 8 p.m. which meant the football team and cheerleaders had to leave school by 3:30 p.m. to allow for the minimum two-hour bus ride, assuming there were no delays at the CBBT. The Northampton PTA always fed the traveling teams and cheerleaders due to the travel involved – and all the schools reciprocated when they came to play on our side of the Chesapeake Bay.
 
During our Thursday practice prior to the Northampton game, I reminded the cheerleaders how cold it had gotten during our home game the week before. Some of them had never been to Northampton and had no clue how much colder it would be there as compared to Suffolk.
 
“Wear warm clothes for the bus ride over and back. Although we will be close to the front of the bus since we will be riding the equipment bus, bus heaters are notorious for not working all that great. Also, bring blankets to warm-up during half-time as we will not be able to get inside the building. I will ask our bus driver to have the bus warmed up for us if that is allowed. Any questions?”
 
“I have cousins who live on the Eastern Shore. My mom wants to know if I can go home with them after the game. My aunt is going to bring me home Sunday.”

“If you and your mom are positive your aunt is going to be there to pick you up, it’s fine with me. Just remember to bring me a note from your mom with a number where I can call to verify she wrote it. It’s a long, long walk from the Eastern Shore to Suffolk.”
 
“I know, I know!”
 
Sure enough, Eileen came in first thing Friday morning with a note from her mother giving permission for her aunt to take her home with her cousins after the game. I called Eileen’s mom at her job to verify the information during my planning period.
 
We arrived at the football stadium around 5:45 p.m. Parents came out to lead us to the school cafeteria for a supper of spaghetti, garlic bread, salad, tea, and iced sheet cake. Eileen’s aunt came out from the kitchen to introduce herself and to tell Eileen where she would meet her after the game. I felt better knowing the aunt was already on site.
 
Other than being bitter cold due to a harsh wind off the Chesapeake Bay, the game went our way. As the girls dashed to the heated bus waiting for them, Eileen and her cousin gathered their things, said good-night, and headed for the exit gate where she was to meet her aunt. I watched her until she arrived there safely, then boarded the bus with the remainder of the girls as we waited for the team to clean up and board their bus. (Trust me, riding the equipment bus with the heat running is not fun after a ball game! I was happy it had been hours since we had eaten!) 
 
We were pulling around the one-way circle in front of the school when I happened to glance out the back windshield. While I could not hear anything, I did recognize Eileen running behind the bus as if her life depended upon it.
 
“Stop,” I yelled to the bus driver. “I believe that’s one of my cheerleaders chasing our bus.”
 
As I got off the bus, Eileen came rushing into my arms, crying hysterically.
 
“Eileen, what’s wrong? Did you leave something on the bus?”
 
“Nooooooo, my aunt didn’t pick us up.”
 
“What?”
 
“I don’t know what happened, but when she wasn’t here by the time the bus pulled off, I knew I better catch the bus or I would be stranded over here by myself.”
 
“Where’d your cousin go?”
 
“He said he was going to the school to call his mom, but he never came back. I got scared and came to the bus.”
 
“I’m so glad I happened to look back when I did.”
 
“Me, too!”
 
Eileen’s mom met us when we arrived at FGHS.
 
“Mrs. Holland, I am furious.”
 
“Excuse me.”
 
“My oldest nephew took his mom’s car without permission when she went home to get blankets for Northampton’s cheerleaders and she could not get back to the school. She tried to call the school to let you know but no one was in the office. I just prayed you were going to have my girl with you.”
 
“Well, Mrs. White, it was a close call.”
 
“Don’t worry. She will be traveling to and from all games with you from now on.”
 
“Not a problem.” (Rule 9: Cheerleaders.1)

 




Some of my favorite memories were made with my cheerleaders. Because of the small age differential, they were often more like younger sisters than students - and many still are. A special thanks to VMarguarite for the use of "Football Time" to enhance this piece.
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Artwork by VMarguarite at FanArtReview.com

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