74 – Roles

“That’s not fair!” The little young voice was filled with a mix of annoyance and disappointment.

“Come on sweetie, it’s not like you can’t still be part of the team.”

The girl gave the green and yellow pompoms a disdainful side look.

“You know it’s not the same.”

“Oh, but you can wear makeup and a pretty dress instead of that baggy uniform. And you will be safe from all the boy’s rough play. Wouldn’t you like that better?” The teacher answered in a cheerful tone.

“Stand by the sidelines jumping up and down while they kick the ball cluelessly around the field? Of course not! I want to play.”

“But it’s such a rough game, not a proper activity for a young lady. Besides, the school rules are very clear about it; soccer is a BOYS sport.”

“That’s bullshit.” The girl answered before thinking it better.

“SARAH!” Came the livid teacher’s shocked answer.

“I’m sorry.” She said lowering her voice, but only for a moment. “But you know I’m right. I read the whole school rule book and there’s not a single place where it said girls can’t be on the soccer team.”

“We are only trying to protect you, we don’t want you to get hurt.”

“You know I’m the best player on the team. Just because some crybabies complained with their moms because they don’t like a girl playing better than them and becoming captain is no reason to try to kick me out.”

The teacher glanced nervously at the other adult in the room. Her silent plea for help was met with a look of disapproval.

“Alright…” The teacher sighed, then made a final desperate effort. “But we still need a signed letter from your parents, and the coach has to approve it.”

The man standing by the door answered calmly, obviously savoring every word. “They signed the letter the first day of training, and I approved it right away.”

The teacher looked helplessly at the man, then at the young girl looking at her from the other side of the desk.

“Very well then.” She finally said wearily. “You may go back to your practice.”

The girl jumped out of the chair, her smile beaming as she crossed the door, sharing a hi-five with her coach on the way out.

The man watched her run down the corridor and out the back door towards the field, then turned towards the silent teacher.

“You know, Emma… she really IS my best player. We need her on the team.” Then left, closing the door behind him.

The teacher looked out the window towards the field. Deep within her heart, another long-forgotten  little girl watched with envious eyes, and silently cried.

• • •

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