the eagles of the sand

a volleyball eagles

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7. 7

I had been standing there for too long before I realized that I was holding my breath, and so I let it out silently, taking in a few slow breaths of nice, cool, familiar gymnasium air to remind myself that everything was going to be okay. I told myself in my head that Coach Hawk was new, and new can be good, but I frowned after that idea. My frown didn’t go away, and a couple seconds later I decided that I didn’t like our new coach. I could tell that Lowen and the rest of the boys were thinking the same thing. We were a team that knew each other well enough to see through an imposter when we saw one, and if Coach Hawk wasn’t an imposter, then he was subtly strange.

 

    Even Lily, Max, and Samantha, who were sitting on the gym bleachers as usual, had looks of nervous concern on their faces.

 

After the day Coach Hawk came, my teammates and I didn’t feel the same. We felt like he had the urge to control us a little too much. He made us practice our volleyball skills frequently, but we were smart enough to know that practice is important. We had to be ready for a tournament at any time. Because of that, we had to become better at volleyball.

 

    On top of that, he made us put on knee pads. The knee pads were to be worn to protect our knees from getting scuffed or burned if we ever hurt ourselves while sliding along the court floor.

    

    “Don’t think too much of it,” Coach Hawk had said dismissively. “It’s just for your safety.”

 

    All we could do is shrug our shoulders and accept the knee pads. We couldn’t argue with him.

 
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