Book II Chapter 9 Section Three  Tales of Dead Armadillo A Novel About Crosscountry Running and New Braunfels Texas 1993 By Esteban Erik Stipnieks.  Revenge of Dentonite Deeping Unicorn Unity



Wednesday came Ace had the swim trunks under his jeans and the gold medal hung off his NB crosscountry letter as it did for the rest of the boys varsity team.  Bo caught him leaving the publications room.  Bo asked what a pool workout was like.  Ace said it is exhausting in its own unique sort of way.  He had a smile on his face.  He then commented "All this effort for the regional course I hate."  There was laughter Bo grinned "Something about "Regional" makes even a course that is a bitch seem like something to look forward to."  Ace did not like the profanity but agreed with the statement.  Thursday’s paper would have the story they did the interview for the previous day.   

Tara made the comment at lunch the guys seemed loose.  Ace looked at her have fun at regionals do not anything stupid but have fun.  Amanda said "I know you guys seem to be working out hard."  Serg responded "We know it does not matter so we are leaving the way we want to leave every workout is a bonus workout one last race we control how we run it why not run it the best but shooting being a regionals is a treat one that I waited for."  Serg asked Ace "How does it feel to be in your second trip to regionals."  Ace smiled first time running regionals thanks for putting me there.  Coach Noel would take the guys and ride with the swim team Dennis was with them.

In the locker room it was a quick slide off of jeans everybody had flip flops that would be put on the bus.  Dennis asked "Any tips for the pool workout Ace?"  Stephen King replied "Just do what Coach Scott says and if you got less then 5% body fat like I do tread water hard.”  Tom then asked, “Any tips about regionals.”  Ace simply replied, ”Lets enjoy this bonus week hopefully Steven Ray will remember what fun it is and Raul will realize what an idiot he was for missing it.”  Coach Bob said, ”That is a plan consider that my directions to you.”  Last week had been grief this week was more just the fun of running and everybody knew it.  The bus ride was a 40 minute round trip and homework was done in it.

The pool had a cover they walked through the door the swim team had allowed them a lane.  Ace had a grin of recognition on his face as the faint odor of Chlorine reminded him of a year before.  The towels were laid out where they would dry off.  Bo said "You look like you are having a good time.”  Ace replied, “Just getting myself ready for the fun.”  There would be intense periods of treading water to follow.  Coach Noel told the team to get in the pool.

Ace knew what was going to happen as they were now in seven feet of water 9 inches deeper then his long frame.  Bo was much shorter.  What began was a long cool workout.  In the water they had to tread water for 5 minutes straight using their body first.  Bo and Tom quickly saw the way this workout was going.  It was tiring but in a different way.  Bo moved his arms for 5 minutes then he grabbed the rail.

They recovered some Coach Scott then told them tread water 5 minutes using only your legs.  It was French Fries and Ace who slowly sank and had to push off the bottom of the pool a couple times to get their head above water and they snuck in an occasional arm stroke.  Aero found it amazing how he actually felt himself sweating as his legs pumped furiously in the weightless environment of the pool.  This was actually a workout.  Serg had just a bit more fat on him so he was not struggling so much.  He had heard this was work and he was quickly finding out that Ace was not joking and Coach Noel could be as demanding as Coach Bob.  It was five minutes of work and he felt it.  Bo found it amazing how difficult this workout was.  This was work as his body slid against the water and worked.  He was breathing hard.  They were given another break.

Coach Bob looked at the team.  Ace had a look on his face Coach Bob had caught a couple of the hands he vowed to do again.  The look of surprise on Mike, French Fries, Bo, Tom and Dennis was priceless.  The knew to tell them to eat well they burning calories at the wazoo.  They grabbed the rail.  They were breathing hard.  This was different for them this was tiring this was fun. 

Ace breathed hard at the rail.  Steven Ray was surprised at how tiring the workout was.  They caught their breath for about 90 seconds then Coach Scott told them to back to where they were.  Tread water the call from Coach Noel Scott came.  Then after 30 seconds without your arms a stealth push off the bottom of the pool.  Ace with is really low body fat percentage started sinking he was watching Coach Scott.  So was Steven Ray and Aero when we looked away a quick stroke of the arm.  French Fries had to be more aware since he had to sink much go get a push off the bottom of the pool.  Ace's long frame allowed him a few more pushes off the bottom of the pool as the five minutes stretched seemingly eternity. 

This was a stealth speed workout disguised cleverly.  About 3 minutes into it Coach Noel Scott finally barked while are you staring at me?  He then caught a couple with hand strokes he knew it was tougher on them but called out in a gentle encouraging tone "Tough it out!"

He gave the group another three minute break.  They were breathing hard.  Bo said "Man you were right about this this is as hard if not harder then a run."  Tom made the comment "Gives you an appreciation of the swim team.”  Serg replied, “I will never make fun of them again.”  Coach Noel Scott had achieved a secondary effect of the workout in addition to what he wanted.  He then told them one last time 5 minutes you can use your hands.   Aero was tiring and found the motivation to do at a reasonable clip. Ace was familiar this workout he found himself dealing with both good and bad memories.  It was great to have the team again it was great to go to regionals.  Bo was thinking this was cool.  Serg was enjoying the new view of the regional meet.  This whole thing had been a new experience to him.  This was tiring Serg could feel his appetite growing.  Tom saw the method to the madness he was pooped at the end of this. 

The Encino with pride for the girls was different.  The guys were on their own.  Linda and Amanda were the stars.  Tara and Leisha were realizing how different they were the year of the move from campuses had been a knife blade in the life of the city.  Kimber was happy one last ride.  Kathrine was accepting Tara taking her role.  Kim like Tara was new to regional the sophomore the youngest was enjoying this.  The guys making regionals had put the team in a different position.  It was a fast victory lap the intensity was there the girls were not slacking but behind it a joke was cracking.  Amanda’s serious demeanor was cracking a bit she knew state was real for her but the team was in intact form for one last week.  Tara had been loyal.  Leisha ran realizing now she was a Unicorn with childhood memories of a Denton gone.  Ace as he was called worked on wavelength with her older brother’s former soccer coach.  Tara was fierce to her code reflexively.  Coach Noel Scott was gentler but had a back bone of steel.  The news was bitter sweet but what had hit the boys team was unmistakable as she ran looking at her senior year approaching she realized she was the Unicorn making peace with the Bronco that would soon dominate the team.  Back at the stadium when the run was finished Amanda had real warmth and a real gratitude to her teammates.  There was real tenderness displayed as she had been relieved of sole stardom.  Tara had been noticing growing.  Leisha was a bit surprised.  Kimber was not so much surprised by pleased by it.  Prayers were being answered in the most stunning way.  The controversy kicked up by Dr King’s arrival had brought a new cast.  Tara was her sister....she had done what no one else could. 

The boy’s team had the last speed workout of the season they dried themselves and were stuck in the bus for the ride home.  Homework was done since no tunes were brought for the round trip.  The fatique of the workout made the bus a quiet place.  The only thing was certain was a large appetitive that been generated by every one a huge meal an early to bed would mark that night.

Coach Noel Scott was grading essays that night so he could hand back the tests when Coach Bob called him "How did it go?"  Coach Noel replied "Knowing them they ate likes pigs and are sleeping like babies and gained a respect for the swim team."  How do you think they will do?  Coach Scott replied "The best they can."  The response came back "Thanks for your help this season." Coach replied "Thanks for allowing me along for the ride...I got some more grading to do talk to you later."



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