“Who do you think will win the football game today?” Katie asked.
Silently, I thanked her for changing the subject.
“We will,” Rick Morris, a football player, answered from the other table.
I’d known Rick since elementary school. We also played on the same town travel football team for three years.
“I’m not sure, Morris. We’ll only have Burns playing quarterback,” Michael Fox said.
Aiden Burns, one of the few sixth-graders on the team, was technically one of the kickers, but since he’d played quarterback for his travel football team in fourth and fifth grade, he was also the backup quarterback’s backup on the team.
“Hey, maybe he’s really good. He’s never played as the quarterback in a school game.” Amanda was a great friend, but she had one major flaw: she had a big mouth. One she didn’t always know when to keep closed.
At the time, I didn’t realize it, but my world was about to be completely turned upside down.
“Come on, he can play about as well a girl,” Cameron Reynolds called back.
He’d never been a nice guy, so his comment didn’t surprise me. I didn’t agree with him though. If Aiden Burns was that terrible, he wouldn’t have played the position for his travel team last year.
“A girl can play just as well as some of you guys,” Amanda shot back.
“Get real, a girl can’t play football,” Shane Gallagher responded, joining the conversation between the two tables. Clearly, he didn’t know I’d played for three years.
“Well, we’ll just have to wait and see tomorrow then, won’t we.” Amanda turned back toward her lunch.
“Why, what’s happening then?” Robby Sayles, one of my closest friends, asked. Robby and I had lived across the street from each other our entire lives, and we’d been friends practically forever. In fact, we were friends even before we started preschool.
Amanda turned back toward the boys. “Maddie is trying out for the team.” She offered up a smug smile before she turned her back on them again.
Silence prevailed at the tables close to us, and all eyes focused on me. Since the floor refused to open up and swallow me whole, and I didn’t want to call Amanda a liar, I focused on my lunch. Thanks to a large knot in my stomach, just the sight of my sandwich was making me sick.
Maybe I’m dreaming. Or maybe I misheard Amanda. Like always, it was noisy in the cafeteria. Perhaps she said “I’m trying out for the team,” not “Maddie is trying out.”
“This one I have to see,” Cameron replied. The guy almost fell off the bench, he was laughing so hard.
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