Practice 1C

Annie felt the strap of the sack dig into her left hand. She leaned forward, lowering the sack from her shoulder to the floor. Grasped the sack in her right hand, but before lifting it back over her right shoulder she stood, straightened her body, allowed the muscles in her back to relax a moment.

Her eyes scanned the last row of trophy cases in the corridor. There was a picture there, one she hadn’t noticed before — was that? Yes, that was Miles, in his white Bark Bay High School basketball uniform, legs lifting from the floor, right arm extended up towards the netted hoop, basketball just above his outstretched hand, a defender in a dark jersey, face hidden behind Miles’ body, reaching up to attempt a block.

She looked around quickly, saw nobody else in the corridor (who would run off with a sack of used fencing jackets anyway?), walked towards the photograph. Just in front of it was a short rectangular plate, mounted at an angle facing up at Annie. She read the inscription:

4 Time All-Conference, 2 Time All-State Basketball
3 Time All-Conference Football
3 Time All-Conference Baseball

Surrounding the photograph and plate were some of the individual awards that Miles had won during his years at Bark Bay. Annie wondered — were they replicas of his own trophies? Or did Miles donate these from the surplus he certainly had collected at home?

She scanned the collection of Miles memorabilia in the trophy case, confirmed what came as no surprise. No fencing. Finishing third at States in foil — third! at States! — seventh, in epee. At States! The only fencer in the region who had consistently beaten Academy fencers the past two years. Arguably the best public school fencer this region had seen in a generation — and no mention, not even one, in this shrine to his athletic career at Bark Bay?

Not surprising at all, Annie thought, turning away from the trophy case and back towards the canvas sack of fencing jackets. Fencing was not a revenue sport, had no history at Bark Bay High School. “I started the team as a response to a dare,” Coach Dan often said. Miles joining the team was a miracle, his success even more so, but Miles had graduated, moved on to college, and the Bark Bay fencing team was back to its humble origins of four years ago, with barely enough students to be considered a team, or club. Rex, Bernie, Double-J, herself — Butch and Kassie, the newbies, hopefully they’d stick around — and Coach Dan. Barely a team, barely here.

Annie picked up the sack, slung it over her right shoulder, looked again at the picture of Miles in the trophy case. No, not surprising his fencing wasn’t mentioned, she thought again. But still, disappointing. It would be nice to have some evidence that we exist.

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