Fifth Quarter: Part 1




DISCLAIMER: This is a story set in Vince Suzakawa’s comic strip "The Class Menagerie." As a derivative work, HE owns it. J It may be copyright me, but legally, any derivative work becomes property of the owner of whatever it is derived from. Some other characters also appear briefly, such as Kevin J Dog and Renata Fayre who are both coyright Thomas K. Dye.

This story takes place during the Fall of Our Heroes Sophomore year. Faced with a declining football team, Coach Hank Carradine recruited Tony Durham. Tony wasn’t aggressive enough, until Art Molina discovers that frustration and guilt cause Tony to be much more aggressive. Molina acts unilaterally to keep Tony stressed out, but goes too far, causing team-mate Damon Mandell to warn Tony of what’s going on, and earning Molina a royal chewing out for causing him to leave the team (Tony’s stated reasons were that he didn’t want to hurt any more people… he might not have quit if he hadn’t been quite so stressed).

There are still three games left in the regular season, as well as a bowl game, maybe. Oregon State, away at Oregon, and then away at Forrest.

This is where Lisa Dodson joins the team as a walk-on linebacker. Coach Carradine has no problem with the fact that she’s a girl.



Coach Hank Carradine of the Demontfort University Gryphons hauled himself back to his feet, and rubbed his aching ribs where he had been tackled right in his office on a Sunday afternoon of all places and times. He looked down at smiling red-head, amazed at how much energy was packed into such a small frame.

"Well, you can hit, and you’re fast. You don’t have the same power as the other players would, but you might be able to put what you do have to good use," he said. "I’ve never had a girl play for me before though."

"I’d really like to try, Coach," said Lisa Dodson, standing all of five feet four, weighing 109 pounds.

"And we need to replace Durham, sir," added Damon Mandell.

"Hmmm. And just who are you, young lady," asked Coach.

"Lisa Dodson, sir. English and theatre major. And I’m on my sorority’s Council."

"English… theatre… sorority…???" Coach Carradine was pretty sure this was the first time any of those words had ever been uttered in his office. "Do you have any experience at football?" He looked skeptically at the little dachshund/fox girl.

"Well, no, sir, but I’m a quick learner. My Dad played rugby here at Demontfort, and I played soccer in junior high. I ran track in high school." Coach Carradine took a few moments to think about this.

"I am sure I’m going to regret this," said Coach. "You are lucky you are catching me in a period of what I am sure must be bad judgement. If you can survive the first week of practice, then we’ll see about actually using you in a game." Coach Carradine couldn’t believe he was actually saying this. "You can either hack it, or you can’t. No special treatment. And Mandell?"

"Yes, sir?"

"It’s up to you to get her oriented, and teach her the plays."

"Roger, sir!" Damon replied.

"Now get your asses out of my office! I’ve got work to do!" bellowed Coach.

"Yes sir!" said Damon and Lisa in unison. Damon led Lisa on a tour of the athletic department.

"This is the weight room. We have our own private facilities, rather than the gym that the civilians get to use." Lisa could see a couple of big, sweaty, muscle-bound hunks working out on the machinery, and found herself staring…

"Lisa!" Damon gently tapped her on the shoulder.

"Oh, sorry," she said, as Damon led her on down the corridor. "Say, they were cute."

Damon laughed. "Coy and Vance? Yeah, I guess you could say that. They’re also gay."

Lisa gasped. "Really? But… isn’t that a problem? For the other players, I mean?"

"Why should it be? They’re good at their… ehm… positions."

"Oh, how cuuuute! You’re blushing!" accused Lisa, and snuggled close to the big bulldog.

"Ahem. Anyway. Locker rooms here… I dunno what we’re gonna do about you, yet. Study rooms down there, meeting room here. You’ll spend a lot of time in here." He led her down some turns, and through a pair of double doors.

Lisa blinked at the sunlight as she found herself on the sidelines down on the football field. Looking around, she could see University staff members mowing the grass, tending the shrubs, picking out garbage, and even replacing lights high atop the scoreboard with a huge crane lift thingie.

"Wow… it’s so big…" she said, turning a full 360, seeing the size of the stands from a totally new perspective.

"Yup. You should see it on a game night, with sixty thousand rabid screaming fans in those stands, watching as we perform our ritualized battle…" Lisa could see that it was Damon’s turn to leave reality for a bit.

"Hey, big guy, what else is there? Is this where we practice?"

"Oh, goodness no. We don’t want to tear the field up. It takes a lot of work to keep that grass alive and pretty. We use the practice fields." Damon began leading her down the sidelines. "How much do you know about football?"

"Only the general point of it. Run or throw the ball till you make a touchdown, or kick a field goal. The two sides take turns having the ball. But I don’t know much about specific rules."

"Ah, it’s okay. Don’t worry. If Biff can understand it, I know you can. Here’s our ride." Damon stopped at a golf cart. "After you, madam," said the bulldog.

"Ooh. A gentleman!" she replied, and stepped into the battery powered cart. Damon sat down and stomped the accelerator. The little cart rocketed down the sidelines and through a gate.

Damon made a hard right to bring them to a sidewalk, causing Lisa to slide up against him. It gave her a good excuse to wrap her arms around him. "Wheee! This is great!" she cried.

"Yeah, I know. I especially like the wind in my face," replied Damon as he turned off the sidewalk and went cross-country. Anyone watching them would have seen a bulldog and a dachshund/vixen mix careening down the hill, hair flying back, and mouths open in huge grins, with their tongues hanging out.

"Hang on! We’re gonna jump this ditch!" shouted Damon as he aimed towards a worn patch of grass leading up a bank of earth. Lisa squealed and held on even tighter to Damon, shutting her eyes as they hit the bank. "Yeeeeeehhaaaahh!!!!" shouted Damon as she felt her stomach crawl up into her throat. After what seemed an eternity, but was actually mere moments, the golf cart touched down on the downslope bank of the ditch.

"That was fun!" Lisa said. They were now paralleling a chain link fence, until Damon drove through a gate. Inside was a field with barely discernable yardage markers faintly visible in the grass. There were several towers with seats on top of them, and other mysterious equipment.

"This is the practice field. Or maybe the ninth circle of hell, depending on Coach’s mood." Damon led Lisa around, explaining the various training machines, the towers that the coaches climbed up so they could see everybody and yell at them better. He also explained the concepts of downs to her, and did the best he could t give her basic understanding of the game.

Time passed, and the early November sun was setting earlier and earlier… tonight was no exception. "Well, I guess I had better get back to the dorm. Cindy is probably worried about me. I didn’t exactly tell her where I was going."

"Okay. Would you like me to drive you back to Richter Hall?

"Oh, yes! Definitely!"

As the sun set, the little golfcart could be seen bouncing silently across campus, sometimes on the sidewalks, usually offroad, and rarely ever on a street. Damon dropped her off at her dorm, just as the first stars were starting to come out. He hugged her at the door, then swallowed. "Ah… see you at practice tomorrow. Three PM."

"You got it, soldier," she replied, and disappeared into the dorm.

With an even bigger grin than usual, Damon wheeled the little cart around, and zoomed away into the night, whisper quiet, with only the wind and Lisa’s voice echoing in his ears..


"Lisa, where have you been?" asked Cindy Rydelle over her chemistry textbook. "It’s not like you to be gone for so long on a Sunday."

"Oh, I was our with Damon," replied Lisa as she climbed up into her bunk.

"You seem to be spending a lot of time with him lately… are you giving up on our kangaroo friend finally?"

"Oh, we’re just friends, Cindy. He’s like a brother. A big huggable brother, but still just a brother. You know how I feel about Mikey."

The blonde mare was unconvinced, but didn’t show it. "Oh, okay. So what’s new with your new brother, eh?"

Lisa bit her lip, trying to think of how to continue, to explain what was going on in the least… volatile way. It was turning out to be too difficult (subtlety had never been Lisa’s strong point), so she went for the direct approach. "I just joined the football team, Cindy." She beamed, smiling widely.

There was a sudden SNAP! Cindy looked slowly up from her notes at her friend. Three pieces of number two pencil clattered to the desk and rolled onto the floor. "Lisa Dodson, have you gone bonkers?" the filly asked. "You… you can’t!"

"Why not? I want to. The coach says it’s okay, as long as I can handle it." Lisa was puzzled by her friend’s reaction.

"Oh, you insufferable Americans. Is there anything you don’t think you can do?"

Lisa looked stung. "Hey, Eliza Doolittle, I don’t even expect you to even understand "American Football" as you call it. Let me tell YOU something; in this country we keep going till we fail, and then we keep going some more. And just keep in mind that you don’t always know as much as you think you do. Need I remind you about this year’s Valentine’s Fiasco?"

Cindy grimaced at the memory. "Be that as it may, that doesn’t mean I’m wrong now. You could get hurt. It’s a man’s sport, Lisa. You’re too delicate. I don’t want you to-"

"What, Fish-n-Chips? Have fun? Try something new? Take a risk?" interrupted Lisa.

"… get hurt," finished Cindy. "It’s not right, it’s not natural, and it’s not necessary!"

"Mother Mary… no wonder it took you people so long to cross the Atlantic. God forbid something be dangerous. As a matter of fact, I don’t see how you can say that with a straight face! You know what the crime rate here in America is compared to Jolly Old England. If you can come to school here in a place with widespread gun ownership, then I can play football for a few weeks!" With that, Lisa jumped off of her bunk bed, grabbed her jacket and purse, and stormed out, slamming the door behind her. She resolved to finally unlock her mountain bike from the rack where it has been sitting all this time, undisturbed. She wanted to recapture the feeling of the wind whistling by her ears as she silently carved through the night air, like it had been with Damon earlier.


Just as the last of Lisa’s white-tipped tail was disappearing down the stairs at the end of the hall, the other doors of Richter3 were opening. Kevin, with Tony looming above him, peeked out of their door, puzzled over what had just happened. They had heard what sounded like an argument, and then a slamming door… coming from the girls room next door…. But that didn’t make any sense.

"Could they have been arguing?" asked an incredulous Kevin. "I mean, they’re friends!"

"You and Brad are friends, and you fight all the time," replied Tony.

"That’s different. Not the same thing at all," retorted the orange tabby.

"What’s going on?" asked Scott Sorrel as he and Michael Hopkins emerged from their room. Whatever had happened was strange enough to get Mikey to interrupt whatever it was he was doing at the time.

"Sounded like a fight between Cindy and Lisa," replied Kevin. "But that doesn’t compute."

Everybody stood clustered at the end of the hallway around the door to Cindy and Lisa’s room, discussing what they had barely been able to hear over the soundproofing. It didn’t take long for Dani, the 3rd floor RA to make her appearance.

"What is going on out here? Brad, are you killing Kevin again?" asked the little mouse, swinging her clipboard menacingly.

"No, but if you’d like, I’d be happy to oblige," replied the jayhawk.

"Bite me, birdbrain," retorted Kevin without missing a beat.

"Make me, nerdboy," replied Brad instantly.

"Then who… what…" stammered the little mouse. She looked around… and saw everybody but Lisa and Cindy. The implications didn’t take long to figure out.

"Cindy and Lisa?" Everybody nodded. "What happened?"

Everybody looked around and at everybody else. "I see. None of you know. Well, I guess I’d better get to the bottom of all this," responded the little mouse. She knocked on the door.

It opened, and a visibly upset Cindy Rydelle stepped out. "What," she said flatly.

"Um… Cindy, what the heck is going on?" asked Dani.

"Lisa… she has gone and done it…"

"Done what, exactly, Cindy?" Dani didn’t like where this was going. More than being her responsibility, the residents of Richter3 were also her friends… well, except for Biff.

"She’s gone and joined the football team," she said flatly.

Nobody even breathed for the next few moments. It was obviously a joke… it had to be… but Cindy never joked… she was British for petesakes!

Biff was the first to recover, if you can call it that, by falling backwards into his room, giggling uncontrollably.

"I told her what a bad idea it was, but she just wouldn’t listen… she stormed out."

"Now you know how I felt," said Kevin. "At least you have Tony to be your friend during all this. I don’t have anybody."

"Hey, I went to the computer fair with you," interjected Brad.

"And did several thousand dollars worth of damage, if I remember correctly, causing us to get kicked out." Brad merely shrugged.

"You gents agree with me, right?" asked Cindy. "That this is a Very Bad idea?"

Everybody else looked around at each other, except for Biff who was still laying on his floor, laughing. Nobody spoke up.

"You mean you think this is okay?" asked Cindy with a shocked look on her face.

"If she wants to do it, why should you care?" asked Brad.

"Much as it pains me to agree with the redneck, I have to concur," said Kevin.

Scott simply shrugged, and now that he knew what was happening, Mikey turned and went back into his room.

Cindy looked at Tony imploringly. "Tony…?"

"Oh no… look… uh… Cindy…. I uh…. I don’t know. I just don’t. Yes it’s dangerous. Yes she might be able to do it though. I don’t know," stammered the big bull who had only just quit the team himself. In fact, that was the reason that she was even joining the football team in the first place.

"Dani?" The filly looked to the RA.

"Well, I don’t really approve of violent contact sports, as you know, but I think it’s great that she’s helping out her school. As well as challenging gender roles," replies the little mouse thoughtfully.

"Fine, then… I’ll just go back to studying, since none of you seem to be willing to see where all of this could be leading her." With that, Cindy closed the door, and left the others to talk amongst themselves out in the hallway.


Practice was unlike anything Lisa had ever experienced before. First, Coach Carradine had introduced her to the team, and explained that she would be taking up a defensive back position for the final three games of the season, if she managed to perform well enough during practice. The reactions from the players ranged from enthusiastic, to ambivalent, to a cynical expectation of failure, to outright hostility. Art Molina and Biff Kensington were two of the cynics. Coach Carradine assigned them, with Coy, Vance, and Damon, to train Lisa on the theory that they’d be as tough on her as possible without going too far; if she survived them, she’d survive the next three games.

And so they worked on drills. All day long she ran, jumped, tumbled, tackled, dodged, and weaved. She was easily able to get around a single guard to the tackling dummy behind, and could often get past two defenders at once.

She also turned out to have a natural talent for running down the wide recievers and bringing them down once they had the ball. "Why do I have to wait for them to catch the ball? If they’re going to catch it, why should I let them?" she asked.

"Because that would be pass interference," answered Damon.

"And you can’t sack the quarterback after he throws the football," added Biff.

For four hours she was out on the practice field. She got the basics down pretty quickly. Stand with everybody else, don’t move until the ball is snapped. Then either go after the quarterback, or chase her wide reciever, depending on what position she was assigned.

A shrill whistle blew. "Okay, you cretins! Hit the showers!" barked Coach Carradine. Every muscle was sore as she followed Damon, Art, and Biff to the locker rooms. Lisa stopped short at the entrance.

"Um… Damon? Where am I supposed to go?" She had gotten her pads on in the storage room where they had finally found a set of football pads small enough for her… but where to undress and shower? She looked around futilely for some sort of "Women’s Locker Room" but didn’t see any such thing.

"Um…. You mean you don’t have your own place? I would have thought Coach… well, here he comes now," said Damon.

"Dodson! Why are you still wearing those pads?!" bellowed Coach Carradine as he strode into the corridor from outside.

"I.. ah.. I don’t know where…" she began.

"Hey, she oughtta dress out and shower with us, Coach!" shouted Molina from inside the locker room. Lisa looked through the entrance and saw the big alligator wearing only a towel around his waist. "If she wants to play like a man, then let her come in here with us. Unless of course she needs special treatment." Art’s suggestion was met with hoots and whistles and catcalls. Lisa blanched.

"You secure that crap, Molina! If you maggots were gentlemen athletes, I might consider it! But seeing as how most of you maggots feel the same way, it’ll be a cold day in Hades before I throw her in there with you! C’mon, Dodson!" Coach Carradine stormed down the corridor, stopping at a door with a blue wheelchair sign affixed to it. "This is our Americans with Disabilities Act bathroom for this floor. It’s almost never used, but the government requires we have it," he explained. "It’s got a shower and several lockers in there, as well as a deadbolt on the door." Coach Carradine opened the door, and showed her around. "Now, lets go get your clothes." He led her around to the storage room where they had finally founds pads to fit her; her gym bag was still there, unmolested. "Do you think you’ve got things under control, young lady?" he asked.

"I... I think so, sir." She looked up at Coach, surprised that she could see through the harsh tough exterior that there was actually a warm hearted, well-meaning person inside... albeit a person who was passionately dedicated to the game. But he was also dedicated to his players, she realized. "Um... sir? Did I do okay today, Coach?"

"Actually, you did awful, Dodson. You were too slow, you missed your mark several times, and you have no sense of timing, or feel for the game," he said matter of factly. Lisa's ears drooped a little... she had tried so hard... "But that said, Dodson, I think I saw more raw potential in you than I've seen in most players. You just need experience. Everybody here has been doing this for years. You've probably never even touched a football before." She shook her head, indicating that she hadn't. Coach Carradine walked over to a storage locker in the storage room, and pulled out an NCAA regulation football, and handed it to her. "Here you go, Dodson. This is yours. Your very own football. Now, I want to see you every day this week at practice half an hour early; the trainers and I will work with you to teach you everything we can, so we can win some games, okay?" He smiled

"You got it, Coach!" she said, cradling the funny shaped ball. It was bigger than she thought, and smelled of leather.

"Good. Now get cleaned up, then report to the trainers for a cool down. I'll be in my office if I'm needed." He left, and Lisa gathered up her things, holding her brand new football as she walked back to the ADA bathroom.


Lisa limped home, worn out, trying to figure out what, if anything, was different about her. She had just spent four hours at football practice… a game she had never played before in her life. Her teammates had been at it for years and years… yet on a whim, she decides to try and fill a slot on the team? True, she seemed to have some talent for getting through an offensive line, as well as for running down a receiver, but still… And there was also the whole fiasco with the leering, jeering guys!

The ice in the plastic bags that were taped around her joints and muscles drew some stares as she staggered into Richter Hall. Some student who called himself some kind of manager told her she had to let him do this for some sort of athletic reason. Something about muscles and joints and stiffness. She was too worn out to care. "Oh, please, don’t let the elevator be broken…" she prayed as she walked down the corridor. Luck was with her, and she soon found herself on the third floor, walking towards her room, dragging her gym bag along the floor now.

Thank goodness that Cindy was home… Lisa didn’t have the strength to fish out her keys and unlock the door. She pushed the door open and walked in.

"Excuse me, but who are you?" said Cindy looking dead at her.

"Cindy, I’m waaaaay too tired to play games right now," replied Lisa.

"Oh dear… Lisa!?!? What happened to you?"

"I guess it’s hard to recognize a person who doesn’t normally wear shorts and a jersey and several gallons of ice," said Lisa as she headed (slowly) towards the bunked beds. She began to fumble up the ladder.

"Lisa! Wait! Hold on. Here, let me help."

Lisa grunted a thank you as Cindy helped her the rest of the way into bed, and took off the ice packs.

"So, how was it, Lisa? Lisa?" Cindy looked at her friend.

She was already fast asleep.

"Oh dear. That good?." She covered the sleeping dachshund/vixen with her comforter, and went back to studying for her last chemistry test before finals.


The next morning, Lisa stumbled into her Literature class, collapsing into her desk. Every muscle seemed to ache. She had had no idea how hard the football players worked every day at practice!

"So, Lisa, what do you think about the article?" asked Becky, one of her fellow English majors.

"Hunh… wha… what article…?" she asked. Becky handed her the university newspaper. She quickly skimmed the article (noting that for some reason journalists were held to a lower grammatical standard than others). It seemed pretty straightforward, that she was on the team to provide some defense, and that the coach wasn’t giving her any special treatment whatsoever. Wasn’t THAT the truth! The author of the article had watched the practice yesterday intending to write some filler piece, but had become intrigued after he saw Lisa, and interviewed Coach Carradine about her instead.

"So what do you think you’re doing, anyway?" asked Becky coldly. "You know how much we look down on the jocks," she continued. "So why are you consorting with mouthbreathing cretins?"

"They’re not so bad, Becky," said Lisa. "True, Biff Kinsgston is pretty much a waste of skin, but Damon Mandell, and two other guys I met, Coy and Vance, they’re all pretty cool. Even the Coach is cool, in a weird sort of megalomaniacal way."

Becky looked aghast. "I can’t believe that you’d become one of them! Look. I don’t even want to talk to you until you get this out of your system." With that, Becky turned and went back to her own desk.

Lisa was confronted with some other variation of her first class for the rest of the day. In some classes, her classmates thought she was a heroine. In others that she was nuts. In still others, they they thought she was beyond crazy even to think about such a thing. Others thought she was making a dangerous mistake. A couple of her professors asked her to stay after class to be sure that this wasn’t going to affect her grades any.

After a full day of fielding questions, Lisa returned home for the hour between now and practice.

Cindy was staring at Lisa menacingly as she walked through the door.

"Oh, god, what did I do THIS time, Cindy?" she asked.

In answer, Cindy simply pushed a button on the answering machine. "You Have Eighty Three Messages. Memory Full. Message One…" Cindy stopped the playback. "They’re all from newspapers and magazines and junk. You’ll notice the phone is off the hook? They won’t stop calling."

"Uhm… what should I do, Cindy?"

"Hell if I know, Lisa," said Cindy coldly, and studiously ignored her.

"Riiiiight. I think I’ll just go ahead and go on to practice." Lisa quickly changed into some sweats, and left for practice.

Outside, there was a newsvan from KPET. As she was unlocking her mountain bike, she was approached by an attractive woman, probably some kind of spaniel. "Pardon me, miss… but are you Elizabeth Dodson?"

"Yeah… but everybody calls me Lisa. Why? You a reporter or something?"

"Yes, I am. I am Renata Fayre. That’s Kevin back there in the van. He’s my camera operator." Lisa could see a yellow retriever or some such wave from the van, with a camera hoisted on his shoulder.

"You’re wired for sound, aren’t you? I’m being taped right now?"

"Yes, actually, but that’s normal. We were just hoping to get you to answer a few questions for us.

"Well, I don’t really have time, you see… I’ve got to go to practice. I go early, because I have so much catching up to do with the other guys. I’d love to hang around and chat." Lisa finished unlocking the bike, and climbed aboard.

"Wait. Lisa. Please… before you go, let me warn you… I’ve been in this business long enough to know what’s about to happen. You are about to become big news. People are going to come out of the woodwork to hurt you, take advantage of you, and use you for their own agendas."

Lisa pondered that for a moment. "Thank you, Ms… Fayre was it? That was awful nice of you to let me know. More helpful than my room mate, anyway. Listen, if I ever feel the need to do an interview, I’ll call your news station, okay? You seem like a nice well-meaning person."

"Well thank you, Lisa. Do you mind if we at least take some establishing shots of you on your bike, in front of your dorm, and while you are at practice? We’re already here, you see."

"Fine. Knock yourselves out. I’ve got to go, though." With that, Lisa headed across campus to the practice fields.


"No, Mr. President, I am not trying to make a mockery of this school. I am only trying to do what you told me, and that was win football games. I will do it however I want to, within the rules of the NCAA." Coach Carradine listened to the phone for a bit longer. "When was the last time Demontfort fired a coach during a winning season, eh? Answer: they haven’t. Now, if you’ll excuse me, sir, I have some reporters to deal with."

Coach Carradine hadn’t expected for a seemingly trivial decision to let some girl play college football would be such a big deal. But apparently, it was. All the major networks and cable services were vying to interview "The Quarterback Princess." Sheesh… she played defensive back, for petesakes! His phone was ringing off the hook from news agencies, talk shows, movie studios, concerned citizens (they were the worst), and even parents who had daughters that wanted to play for Demontfort when they came to school here. It was a real mess, he decided, as he got up, and headed to the conference room, which was bristling with cameras and reporters. Thankfully, he had a PR guy who could handle them. He only had to introduce them, smile for the cameras, and he could get back to the practice field where he belonged.


True to his word, Coach Carradine and a couple of trainers worked just with Lisa, teaching her what she needed to know, and drilling her repeatedly. "The hips, Dodson. Watch the hips. Whichever way they're pointed, that's where your guy is going. And hit him lower and harder than he hits you." Tackling drills turned to running drills, and she slowly picked up on the nuances of chasing somebody downfield.

When the players showed up for practice, Coach Carradine made a special announcement that nobody was supposed to speak on behalf of the school, and they had better not even speak on behalf of themselves if anyone spoke to a news crew. "You had better tell them, 'Coach said for me to say no comment," you got that?!"

Practice went much smoother for Lisa now that she was a bit more acclimated. She found herself chatting away with Coy and Vance, and even Damon. She knew there were only a few practices left before her first real game, so she concentrated on training hard. Damon showed her all the best ways to take somebody down. She had a lot of fun practicing on him.

She talked to reporters, but was very careful to not give them anything that they could use to twist her words around to fit some kind of political agenda of some sort. It didn't do any good, though; the controversy built and built as different sides chose this as their battleground... Lisa sighed... the only thing she had wanted to do was play football, not prove some kind of point. At least her interview with KPET had turned out nicely.

She and Cindy were still not really on speaking terms. It may have had to do with all the phone messages and telegrams Lisa was getting. News programs wanted to speak to her, magazines wanted to interview her, talkshows wanted her to appear, and movie studios were arguing over who could buy the movie rights to "her story." Lisa had never even had "a story" before. She was also getting tons of flowers delivered every day by fans and well-wishers. Her relationships with her classmates were strained, and they were treating her as an outsider, or like somebody who was only looking for attention.

Even her sorority sister, Sara, was livid. "I know you're on Council, Lisa, but still... this is not the kind of image that the sorority needs!"

"It's only for a few weeks, Sara. Besides, it shows how tough we are, I think," was Lisa's response.

"Well, don't screw up, Lisa. For petesakes, don't screw up," was Sara's reply.

But, for all the friends she seemed to be losing, she seemed to be gaining more. She had always been popular, but now *everybody* knew her, and said hello. And the guys on the team were starting to warm up to her, once they saw that she was working just as hard as they were. She learned that the football players were not all like Biff. They were actually pretty smart, and were very hard working for the most part. Most of her classmates didn't understand the long hours and sacrifices that they made. Lisa felt a little guilty for ever feeling like her former friend Becky had.

Day by day, though, Lisa got through practice, and learned how to do her part of the over all team strategy… until at last it was Saturday… her first real game, a home game where Demontfort was hosting the Oregon State Owlbears.

End of Part One.

Go to Part Two