by Dave & Jane Scherrep
It was a really hot day even for early October, but TC and The Tiger decided to mosey down to the practice fields to see how the football team was coming along. TheTiger filled a canteen with cold water, threw a few snacks in a bag for TC, and they were off. As they passed Fike Recreation Center, TC noticed the Clemson Cheerleaders headed in the same direction.
“Where do you think they’re going?” TC asked.
“They might be headed for the practice fields just like we are,” his uncle replied. TC stood up a little straighter, pulled his shoulders back, and started walking with a certain grace that was not normal for him.
“You can forget about cheerleaders for a few years,” his uncle told him, “I just want you to concentrate on being a good tiger cub.”
As they reached the practice fields, Coach Bowden told the team to take a 15- minute break and drink plenty of water. The Tiger thought this would be a good time to talk with the coaches about their next game, and TC thought this would be a good time to introduce himself to the cheerleaders. The cheerleaders were very friendly, and TC noticed that they worked very hard on their routines. TC also learned that they practiced outside so they could experience game day conditions.
After about 15 minutes, Coach Bowden blew his whistle, and practice resumed. All the defensive players moved to the far end of the field, and the offense stayed on their end. Special team players, snappers, and kickers moved to an adjoining field.
TC decided he would rather hang out with the cheerleaders while The Tiger headed off to watch the offense run through their paces. Standing close to the sidelines, The Tiger watched each play closely as the various quarterbacks took their turn at the controls. They ran two pass plays, a running play and made several substitutions. Everything went like clockwork. Just as a pass was being thrown, The Tiger thought he’d better check on the whereabouts of TC. He turned his head for just a moment, but that was all the time it took for a big receiver to flatten The Tiger like a pancake. Will Riker, who weighed in at 210 lbs., had attempted to snare a pass that had been thrown wide and collided with The Tiger. Will yelled for a trainer, as The Tiger was flat on his back and not moving.
“I think it’s my paw,” The Tiger said, as Danny Poole arrived on the scene.
“Let me check you over,” Danny said, “before you try getting up.”
TC, who had been enjoying himself with the cheerleaders, noticed that the team had stopped practicing but realized it was too early for another break. Scanning the practice fields, he quickly spotted his uncle flat on his back about fifty yards away. Like a shot out of a cannon, TC dashed down the sidelines arriving just in time to hear Danny proclaim that his uncle had a sprained paw, and he would need to rest it for a few weeks. By this time, Coach Bowden had come over to see what had interrupted his practice.
“How long will it take his paw to heal?” Coach Bowden asked.
“I would say anywhere from two to three weeks,” Danny replied.
“I guess this means he won’t be doing push-ups at our next game,” Coach Bowden said. Danny nodded his head in agreement as he continued to work on The Tiger.
“I could do the push-ups,” TC interjected.
“Do you know how many push-ups we’re talking about?” Coach Bowden asked.
“If I start practicing right now, I could be ready for the next game,” TC said.
All the players gathered around the injured Tiger and were listening intently to the conversation between Coach Bowden and TC. Will Riker, who had flattened The Tiger, started chanting TC’s name, and before you knew it the entire team had joined him.
“TC..TC..TC..TC,” they kept chanting until Coach Bowden agreed to give TC a try.
“TC, I want you to report to practice tomorrow at 5:00,” Coach Bowden told TC, “and we’ll see what kind of shape you’re in, be prepared!”
TC nodded in agreement as he helped his uncle up.
“I hope you know what you’ve let yourself in for,” The Tiger told TC, “because this team can score some points.”
July 27, 2021
July 26, 2021