Book Two  Chapter 9 Section II Now that you Don't Want it here is the fame Tales of Dead Armadillo A Novel A Bout Crosscountry Running and early 1990s New Braunfels Texas by Esteban Erik Stipnieks


Brad asked Ace about the new medal.  Ace told the story about what happened.  The two had the same PE teacher in elementary.  There was talk about alcohol consumption of the football team and Dennis.  The substance abuse of New Braunfels was hidden better.  Denton had drugs offered in class and cigarettes butts every 20 feet. New Braunfels had booze flowing faster then Comal at parties whispered about.   The medal's message being placed on Ace was clear.  He had been given credit for the district victory.  It was in the process of being made official.  The negatives being processed meant an intense lunch time the last bit of the district prints had to be done then it was going to be a longer run. 

2nd period it came on the announcement Amanda, Tom reading it "By order of the Great Unicorn Stephen King known by his teammates as Ace has been given full status as honorary member of the Boys Varsity team the medal he is wearing today has been earned as his pursuit of team glory over personal glory made the Gold being True Blue he will run at Regionals.”  The announcement was heard in the JROTC where Stephen King was.  Their was applause where the two platoons of cadets had formed up on the inside air gun rifle range.  The PT team commander had been publicly recognized.  The Senior Marine Instructor then said "I order cadet captain Stephen King to continue to display leadership as the crosscountry team is heading to regionals he is granted a waiver from drill meet this weekend and is ordered to represent us as well as his cross-country team at UTSA."  Stephen replied “Aye Aye sir.” For Stephen King it was realization of a journey the agony that was beneath the surface of his freshman year had lead him to Christ.  Christ had given an intense two years trial by fire in Denton now he realized the flame left in agony in a place at camp had been returned many fold.  The glory he sought for others had instead been placed on him as well.  Ace was sobered by the responsibility angered at the lack of effectiveness and enjoying the moment he was back in the land of the Blue and White very different then the one who had left. 

At lunch Amanda was realizing how far Tara was and the diversity on the team.  She was excited about regional’s.  Serg was making the girls 4th trip to regionals very different as well.  District glory had been nice the intensity that got the team there was awesome but Serg realized that the regionals was no more then a victory lap.  Amanda was caught up in two crosscurrents.  The guys in their not caring were training hard still just having a fun doing it.  Tara was enthusiastic.  Amanda found herself caught up she was probably going to state but regionals were feeling different.  Today a reporter from Herald would be doing a story on the guy’s team joining the girls in pursuit of regional glory. 

Ace had used the project print scale to a good gain.  He got the two prints done of varsity.  A photo of him running to the line for JV was also included he liked the shot it had him center in the suggestion of thirds.  The DOF had been jacked up and shutter speed had at 1/250.  It was ballsy shot an artsy shot but it worked.  The image was not a jock shot but it fit the newspaper.  He was then told to run and not even show up to class the shot of him with the district medal was contacted while he had done the other shots. 

Coach Bob stood before the team "We got a newspaper reporter that will be out at Unicorn stadium covering the double threat of the boys and girls teams."  He continued, “I like the tone guys have taken about regionals I realize their are expectations but don’t forget to have fun.”  He could not help but notice how the sense of fun had loosened the guys up not reckless not clueless.  After the guys had dressed out he told Ace "I need you to talk to the reporter he will be interested in talking to you."  Bo, French Fries, Ace, Tom walked out of the locker room into the blazing sun which Ace had not anticipated.  Amanda and the rest of the girls joined the two varsity teams mingled as one single unified mass as they walked to Unicorn stadium.  Ace was processing the cliché’s to use to fit his hometown.  He was realizing in the short walk the stadium.  He saw the reporter and the reporter approached him.  "Coach Bob says you are the most experienced out of the varsity boys team and this is your second time that you training for regionals."  Ace responded "In Denton I was an alternate to regionals last year so I trained with our Varsity team but did not get to run the course."  He was asked "How do you feel about regionals?"  Ace responded "District Gold team was a dream dared and realized now why not have the best week of workouts and run our best race for us seniors its gong out in style French Fries can make it state for individual glory I think the tone we are setting is appropriate."  He continued “UTSA is not well liked at as a course but when you stick Regional Cross-Country meet to it perspective does shift. The lines were a bit contrived but worked.  He was asked about his teammates.  Ace said "Bo plays the hipster but he is the most serious about training diet keeping clean and running hard it is a shame that others did not pick up on his cues."  With that the interview ended.

The team was stretching.  Bo said "Rudy Rudy Rudy" Ace blushed.  Ace then said "As far as training diet discipline we know who is the strongest on the team when it comes to training table.”  The warmth helped the stretching girls had Eden Home Guys had golf course.  Coach Noel Scott said "Ace like it or not you are the only guy on the team that has been in this position."  Ace was visibly embarrassed.  He then looked at French Fries "French Fries why not try to join Amanda at State and we will call you Aero again.”  The remark had a making of dare.  Coach Bob said "Good idea!"  Bo replied "Bo Jr I think will be better nickname."  The whole team agreed.

Tom knew he had run Eden Home for the last time in prep for competition yesterday course would be run today.  He could not help but smile the season had been extended.  That was what was important.  Ace ran with him and the enthusiasm was contagious grief had gone this was a victory lap.  The two ran down Ohio not drag racing but at a pace meant to accomplish the purpose of the workout.  UTSA was a hated course but it was competition.  The run came down second nature style set near perfection a run with friends a run with competition a reprieve from the end.  Ace smiled as he went by a mentor’s house he did not know the location of the day of before.  It was over four the landmarks of his hometown that he loved went all around him.  Tom was taking it on at a good clip down lakeview making turn at the gravel pit and then parallel the top of Landa Lake.  He was doing a run he had hoped for and he was loving it.  He knew the appropriate pace and the downhill was done on a good form.  The shade of the street was nice.  Then as he neared the golf course the sound he heard was surprising,” Go Blue!”  He approached a group of golfers identified the three crosscountry running the next cheer came to Tom, Ace and Steven Ray "Go Unicorn Crosscountry" it was a loved cheer.  Tom smiled.  In his California cool heart the regional run was nice.  Steven Ray was happy.  As they dove down the dip to the original Comal which was flowing more heavily they heard another group of cheers over Unicorn crosscountry.  There was another set of cheers Go blue as they huffed up the hill and made the turn.  Tom had more mass to shove up the hill which had allowed him to speed up the downhill he crested it and then made turn by the Wursthalle.  Wurstfest would begin that weekend.  Preparations were visible this was the first time running through the festival of sausage.  An Opa there by the circle arts theatre meant another cheer for the team.  Bo quipped “Better to the ear then a party eh?” Tom chuckled with the wisdom. It was so true. The set up for the angle on Landa Park.  Ace and Steven Ray had kept up.  He was running a fast pace but not excessively fast as they the three crossed the slave dug mill race and cut through the park and the mud for Panther Canyon.  Tom said "Ace last time we run up this Canyon as Unicorn training for competition."  Ace responded "Never thought I would miss this!" His contempt for Panther Canyon had been legendary.  Steven Ray laughed.  The three runners slid out single file up the long stretch of Panther Canyon.  Tom was actually closing a bit on Mike.  He was having fun out of the Canyon he made one final surge to Unicorn stadium

Bo had enjoyed the cheers and had Exceed two cups worth for his teammates.  Aero had joined him as Mike grabbing his own.  The girls had started cheering on the guys for their arrival.  The last two runs had been great for him.  Amanda was smiling Linda made the comment "Its nice to have to have to share the bus with you Saturday"

Linda locked her feet with Ace.  He had not mocked her brother who was in juvee.  He had initiated the effort to deal with his now dubious legacy the best way possible.  She understood it had to happen.  She had warned her brother.  She was struggling with her role as older sister.  She was feeling an exasperation at his nihilism.  The three years between her brother and her was feeling like a bigger and bigger Gulf.  Ace made it clear he valued her as a teammate.  She knew the town and its need to process it all.  They did sit ups and then came the pushups for the whole team.  The sun was on the way down.  She had homework to do. 

Tara had locked her legs with Bo.  She had gotten a laugh out of his antics.  He liked dance mix he was the hipster but everybody knew if he did go to a party he did not drink at all.  He also had been known to eat liver and she had caught him with a mountain of fresh produce.  She was beside Amanda and the 40 situps When it was all over her and Kimber went to Tara and said "You are adding fun to this." Tara was surprised "Girls making regionals is not a news event but you are giddy and having fun....thanks"  Tara realized what they had said.  She had smiled about it.  Her enthusiasm has been her face.  For Tara the regional birth was new.  She was one of the few girls to whom it was new.  In the locker room she quickly got her gear and headed off to do her homework and get a good dinner before bedtime.



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