Narrator: For supper the Thanksgiving turkey
was back (in what Laurie hoped was its final appearance) in a
steaming soup. Laurie tried to use her best table manners, but
she found it hard to eat when her grandmother kept peppering her
Grandma: What did you learn in school today?
Narrator: she began. Laurie had been so rattled
about being in a new school that she had spent most of the day
thinking of her friend, Christy, and of her life in her hometown
of Bradley. The class might have been studying Chinese for all
Laurie could remember.
Laurie: Oh, you know, the usual.
Narrator: Laurie answered.
Grandma: How could it be usual when it was your
Narrator: Grandma wondered.
Grandma: Do they still teach home economics
in the schools?
Narrator: Coach Preston laughed.
Coach Preston: Those days are gone, Mom. They
teach life skills to both boys and girls, but not in fifth grade.
Grandma: Well, I think it's high time they got
back to teaching it. When I was Laurie's age, I knew how to sew
and bake. I've used those skills all my life.
Laurie: But could you dribble behind your back?
Narrator: Laurie couldn't resist asking.
Grandma: Don't be fresh, Laurie.
Narrator: Grandma snapped.
Grandma: You spend too much time in gyms. That's
why you dress and act like a boy. When you get older, how are
you going to attract a boyfriend?
Laurie: If I want a boyfriend,
Narrator: Laurie retorted,
Laurie: I'll find one who thinks like I do:
that girls can do anything boys can do.
Narrator: Grandma opened her mouth to respond,
but Coach Preston broke in.
Coach Preston: Laurie's got a boyfriend already,
Mom. First day in the school, too.
Narrator: he teased.
Coach Preston: What's his name again?
Laurie: Howard is NOT my boyfriend, Dad. He's
just a kid I know.
Narrator: She had been about to ask if Howard
could manage the team. But now she thought if she did, her father
would be convinced Howard was her boyfriend. Maybe she'd wait
until tomorrow morning to ask. The doorbell rang just as Grandma
was bringing a freshly baked apple pie to the table. When Laurie
opened the door, there stood Howard, his laptop tucked under his
Howard: Hi, Laurie, I've got some stats I wanted
to show your dad. I'm going to help him make this team something
Narrator: Howard said enthusiastically.
Grandma: Laurie, who's your friend?
Narrator: came Grandma's voice.
Grandma: Ask him in for some pie.
Coach Preston: This must be Howard.
Narrator: said Coach Preston, who had followed
Laurie to the door. He stuck out his hand. Howard shook hands
Howard: Coach, you won't be sorry you gave me
the job. Take a look at some of the statistical breakdowns I can
do for you.
Narrator: Coach Preston looked at Laurie, hoping
for some explanation of what Howard was talking about. But Howard
didn't notice the coach's confusion. He strode into the kitchen
and set his laptop on the table. Coach Preston followed and looked
over Howard's shoulder.
Howard: I can chart free throws and keep stats
for each and every player
Narrator: Howard explained.
Howard: That way you'll know who you'll want
handling the ball at crunch time. I can't imagine anyone being
a better shooter than Laurie, but the other teams will possibly
try not to foul her--
Laurie: Uh, Dad,
Narrator: Laurie interrupted,
Laurie: I was supposed to ask you if Howard
could manage the team, but I never got around to it.
Coach Preston: Oh, a manager, sure.
Narrator: Coach Preston smiled.
Coach Preston: The job is yours, son, but it
involves filling water bottles and passing out towels. I'll take
care of the coaching.
Narrator: Howard looked as if he might protest,
but Grandma had cut him a huge wedge of apple pie, and he was
soon too busy eating to worry about statistics.