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Steve Joos

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This is the story about how a young diver struggles with a demanding senior teammate, the pressure of an crucial meet and an embarassing setback. The action is seen through her eyes and those of her boyfriend.

Trevor gazed longingly through the hallway window as the Mount Auburn girls' swim team practiced one midwinter day, his usually intense face softening at the sight of Diane Shannon warming up with the rest of the divers.
A warm, funny feeling enveloped Trevor as he watched Diane tuck her arms, then spread out as she limbered up before practicing on the boards.
Sure, sure, Trevor thought to himself.
The sleek maroon racing-back swimsuits were the team uniform, but this was Diane. The slightly built girl with long blonde hair had been chasing Trevor since the sixth grade and finally caught him over the summer.
After two years of fighting her off one minute and "accidentally" forgetting his colored pencils in geography the next, he came to see Diane as someone special just in time for high school.
Trevor fiddled with his short brown hair as he watched Diane continue her warm-ups, trying hard to avoid eye contact.
On the first day of practice, Trevor had caught Diane's glance as she was warming up and he winked at her. She blinked back, only to have team captain Judy Hauser catch her.
Diane incurred Judy's wrath ever since.
"Hey, vacum-head!" Judy barked at Diane. "Watch the board, not the hallway! You and Trevor can ride the elevator later!"
Judy rode Diane and the other frosh even harder than the coach at times, especially rhe "park pool" kids like Diane.
Trevor's daily presence in the athletic complex hallway and at all the team's meets didn't help matters, nor did Diane's development as a diver.
Diane was a graceful gymnast, but she watned to swim for the Lady Wildcats. She wasn't fast enough for that, but there was a shortage of divers and the coach encouraged Diane to try the boards.
It was tough, but she was intent on sticking it out and when Trevor was around, things seemd to go better.
"Coach wants me to do a back flip," Diane said on the activities bus that day after practice. "He says it could be my best dive, but,"
"But what?" asked Trevor.
"It's kind of difficult and I haven't been working on it for very long. I'm nervous. What if I mess it up?"
"You'll do OK," answered Trevor, pulling Diane closer to him.
"You don't know how tough it is," continued Diane. "All the stretching and warming up in prctice. All the practice."
"And drill sergeant Judy."
"If I don't do any better in prctice and she doesn't ease up, I'm going to quit the team. Sometimes when she rides me too much, I just get so nervous and I worry that I'm going to miss a dive."
"Don't do that," answered Trevor quickly. "I mean, you always wanted to be a swimmer. Don't let some stuck-up senior get to you."
"Trevor, she's the captain of the team."
"So? You're better looking."
"She's one of the top freestyle swimmers in the state! There's only one girl who's better and we have to swim against her team Saturday!"
Trevor tried to calm Diane with a joke, but couldn't.
The intensity of the team's practices only increased as the swim team prepared for their meet with Castle the next day.
Trevor still got a friendly response from one of the coaches as he took up his position in the hallway, taking special care not to disturb Diane.
Over and over, the coaches reminded the girls that every point would count and so did the captains.
Even the divers felt the strain as they went to work out on the boards.
Diane went first, doing a backflip with one somersault and a low degree of difficulty. She went to the edge of the board, took a deep breath, spread her arms...
And slipped sideways off the board into the diving well.
Diane swam to the side and slinked out of the pool, her face deeply flushed with embarassment as some of the older girls on the team held back chuckles.
Trevor seemed be there right with her, even though he was standing in the hallway.
The vicious taunts didn't let up once practice ended, especially from the captain.
"What's the matter Shannon? Afraid the well midht bite?" said Judy.
Trevor's fists tighented on hearing the taunts.
"Hey Shannon! Watch out for that first step! The water might jump up and hit you!"
'And now Diane 'Vacum-head' Shinbone will attempt the slip in the well backflip, degree of difficulty one-half!"
Just then, a rush of courage shot through Trevor and he sprang to Diane's rescue.
"Why don't all you snobs just shut up!" he growled, staring at Judy. "This is the best diver at Mount Auburn High School! She's cute too!"
Judy stared at Trevor in stunned silence.
"Just because you're some hotshot rich senior, you think you can pick on Diane all you want just because she's a freshman!" Trevor continued. "Besides, you're just jealous because she's better-looking. You're both on the same team, so leave her alone!"
Trevor turned to look at Diane and saw her smiling at him.
"Aw Trev," she said, smiling and blushing with her head cocked to one side. "That was very sweet of you."
"You still going to dive?"
"If I do, will you come to the meet?"
"Then I'm diving."
The mood was even more stifling than normal throughout that Saturday, as Mount Auburn and Castle dueled in the pool, but Diane kept thinking about how Trevor stuck up for her that day and she didn't seem to be as nervous.
Judy wasn't as mean as she had been in practice and that concerned the coach to a certain extent, but she finally beat an old rival in the freestyle and that tied the meet heading into the dives.
Diane hit one dive, then another and another.
Each time, she looked over at Trevor and blinked at him. On the last dive, he looked up at her and winked before she got on the boards for the backflip.
She blinked at him, then walked to the edge of the board, spread her arms took a deep breath.
And nailed the dive, giving Mount Auburn the win.
When she got out of the pool, Judy was the first to congratulate Diane, but she was looking over into the hallway.

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Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 4/19/2006
Excellent write, thanks for sharing! Well done! :)
Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 4/18/2006
Wow this brought back so many memories of my sporting school days. Just one person to make you feel good about yourself could make such a difference!!
Thank you you took me right there and made me relive some great moments myself!!

Happy Belated Easter Steve!!

Love Tinka

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