Recovery of a Hero Ch. 16byRoadbug©
A Hero's New Job
Special thanks to Desert Pirate for his kind assistance.
The next day, I got up feeling real excited. This would be my first day back with the Cheerleading squad. I was real excited about it and happy at the same time. I loved working with Megan and the other girls and I had missed it so much. It would also be my first day back for my gymnastics classes, which I'd also missed.
I got dressed and went to check on Uncle Dar. He was already up and dressed. Ellen and Nancy were up too and ready to go.
I told them, "Don't eat a heavy breakfast today. Your both going to be real busy at the gym to start. We can get a good lunch after that if we smile real nice for Uncle Dar."
Nancy said, "That might work. I bet if we said please too, he might take us for a ride after Cheer practice."
"He might," Ellen said. "I bet if we offer to do a wash and wax on the Beast, he'd do it."
Uncle Dar said, "Well I suppose if you asked nice."
After we ate, we went out and loaded into the van. Uncle Dar used the lift for his chair and seemed real happy that he didn't need help getting in. After the time I spent not being able or allowed to do much, I could understand that. I hated not being able to even mow the yard now and then.
Uncle Dar started up the van and headed to Shelly's house since she was closest. We picked her up and headed to Sandra's.
I told Shelly, "I hope you ate light this morning. Your going to be working real hard at the gym today."
"I remember what you told me, so I had half a Grapefruit and some juice," she said.
I said, "Good. Jimmy's going to work us all hard today so be ready. This will be a lot harder than Cheer practice."
Uncle Dar asked her, "Did you bring your paper work?"
"Yes," she said. "I've got it all here." She took the papers out of her purse and held it all up where Uncle Dar could see.
We pulled up to Sandra's house and found her waiting at the curb. She climbed in and sat down buckling herself in.
"Got your paper work?" asked Uncle Dar.
"Right here," she said. She handed Uncle Dar a folder with all the papers in it.
Uncle Dar took Sandra's and put it with the stuff for Ellen and Nancy.
"OK, I guess we're ready then," he said.
He pulled out and drove to the gym.
When we got there, the parking lot was empty except for Jimmy's car.
We all got out and went in side and to Jimmy's office. He was sitting at his desk drinking coffee when we walked in.
"Good morning," He said. "Got everything done?"
Uncle Dar said, "Good morning. Yes, Here's all the stuff for the girls and here's the one for the direct deposit." He handed the folder and another sheet to Jimmy and then gave him a check. "This is for the first month," He said.
"Good," said Jimmy. "We start at Nine. Since it's 8:45, Sally can take the others in and get them started on warm ups. Want a cup of coffee?"
Uncle Dar said, "I never refuse a cup of coffee if it's any good."
Jimmy smiled and said, "I get the good stuff. Try some, the pots over there." He pointed to a coffee machine on a small table with a few cups on it.
Uncle Dar went and got a cup and filled it. After a sip he said, "Boy thats good. You ought to teach these kids how to make it."
"I did with Sally there," Jimmy said. "She made a good pot, but it wasn't worth the grumbling about how nasty it is. Her mother at least didn't complain about not liking it."
Uncle Dar laughed and said, "Well she does all right at home and I haven't heard a single complaint. I guess she likes me better."
Jimmy glared at me and said, "To think. I even let you practice with your mother when you were little and all I got for thanks was you complaining about making me a pot of coffee now and then."
I gave him my best little girls look and said, "I'm sowy Unca Jimmy. Pwease fergive me. I'll do better next time, I pwomise." I batted my eyes at him.
He and Uncle Dar laughed and he said, "OK, I'll let you by. But no more grumbling about it."
I said, "Fine. I'll just stomp and shuffle my feet while I make a pot of the vile stuff. I still don't understand how you two can stand it."
"Thats easy to explain," said Uncle Dar. "We're sitting."
"Jimmy," I asked, "can we change our times a bit? We have Cheer practice on the same days as your classes. I know that you don't have many on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Saturday is an open house for workouts. Can we come in on those days at 9 instead?"
Jimmy said, "No problem. It'll give me something to do on those days. Today, I just want to test your friends to see what they need to do to start, and to see how much work you need to get back into shape."
"Good," I said. "That'll be a lot easier than doing both this and practice on the same days. When we go back to school next month, I'll let you know what our schedules will be for practice and games as soon as I can."
Jimmy said, "I can take care of that." He picked up the phone and punched in a number.
"Hi Megan," he said after a few seconds. "It's Jimmy. Yes, they're here now. No, I won't wear em out on you. I need your fall schedule so I can set up classes around it for them. No, I'm just going to test them out today to find out how well our super ball really is and how much work the other four need before the real lessons start."
"Fine, I'll see you then," He finished. He hung up the phone and said, "That takes care of that. Megan will give me a fall schedule when she gets it. Just remember to save me a seat up front at the games."
"You know coach Coulter?" asked Shelly.
"For years," He said. "I knew her when she used to come in with Sally's mother before she was born. She never got into it, but she'd watch during the lessons. I wish she'd have signed up though. She had a great sense of balance and was very loose jointed."
I said, "She told me that she knew my mother for a long time. I didn't know how long though. How long have you had this gym?"
"My parents started it about forty years ago," said Jimmy. "As a joke when I was born, they named me Jim. Now that they're retired, I run it. Back when your mother was a student, I was studying to. We worked together a lot and Megan would always come in with her."
"When I asked why," He continued, "she said that she was babysitting Megan. Her parents had divorced and she stayed with her dad. Your mother started babysitting her when she was 6. She spent most of her time after school with your mother until her dad got off work. Even at 14, she'd hang out with your mother."
"I didn't know about that," I said. I only recently found out that she knew mom at all."
Jimmy said, "They were always together for a lot of years. When your mother got married, she was the brides maid. Your mother only had one. I remember how proud Megan was when she asked her. They were almost inseparable back then."
"I sure miss her," I said. "I didn't know many of her friends and I really didn't know much about her either." I felt a few tears as I said that. I really do miss her.
Jimmy said, "We all do. She was my friend for a long time too."
"OK," he said. "Take your friends out for warm ups. We have a bit to do today before I chase you out of here."
"Fine," I said. I took the other four into the gym and we started stretching exercises while he and Uncle Dar stayed behind talking and drinking that nasty coffee.
After about twenty minutes, he came out and watched us for awhile. We were doing a leg stretch that Uncle Dar had taught me right then.
He stopped us and said, "OK. I want Shelly first."
He took Shelly to another room to test her while the rest of us kept stretching.
Uncle Dar came out in his chair and said, "That isn't the way I taught you." He got up and slowly started doing the stretch with his right leg straight in front and said, "like this."
He did the stretch once and said, "Now you. Do it once on each leg and keep the other straight. Go down slowly as far as you can."
We did it the way he'd shown us and he said, "Much better. Keep doing it that way."
While we were doing the stretches like he'd shown us, Shelly came back. She looked a bit tired but was smiling.
Jimmy followed and said, "Your done for now so go shower up. Sandra next."
He took Sandra back and told us, "Thats enough for now. Don't get worn out."
We rested while he was testing Sandra. Uncle Dar said, "I'll work with you more tomorrow after gym. You need to work more on what I taught you so you don't hurt yourselves. Doing some of those exercises wrong isn't the best idea."
I said, "I'm sorry, Uncle Dar. It's my fault."
He said, "No. It's my fault. I should have paid more attention when I was teaching you to start with. I'll correct that later so don't worry. The way you were doing that stretch wasn't bad, but you weren't getting as much out of it as you could have."
I said, "I could feel the difference in my legs. I'll do better next time, I promise."
Uncle Dar said, "Don't worry about it. I know you'll do well cause you always have. I need to pay more attention to you when you do those stretches instead of concentrating on myself. We'll start tomorrow afternoon."
I said, "Fine. You;ll need to get Shelly and Sandra, though. We need to work out together."
"I still need permission from their parents before I start teaching them any thing." He said. "I don't instruct unless thats covered first."
"Thats OK," I said. "We'll ask them when we take them home tonight after Cheerleader practice. If they say yes, I'll invite them over for dinner tomorrow."
"Good," said Uncle Dar. "If they get permission, I'll start all of you at the beginning and work you up. I'll even teach you a bit about Judo. We'll start with basic falls and such. Learning how to land will be a help with here and Cheerleading too."
I said, "Great."
Sandra had finished while we were talking and Jimmy had taken Ellen for her test. We kept chatting while we waited.
Five minutes or so later Jimmy and Ellen came back out and Jimmy took Nancy back with him. They were gone for about five minutes also. When they came back, Jimmy waved me over.
"I know what you've learned so far," he said. "I need to know how much work you need to do to get back up to where you left off after your last lesson. Just basic stretches for now. Don't worry about anything else just show me how stiff you are."
I did all the stretches and exorcises he'd taught me since I started here. I felt a little stiff, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.
When I finished, Jimmy said, "Well it's good to know that you won't take too long to get back into shape. I think in two weeks or so you should be back up to speed and it won't take long for your friends to catch up either. Either they're naturals, or all that cheerleader stuff helped. Thats good because now you'll have some competition."
I asked, "Do you think they'll be as good as me?"
"At least," answered Jimmy. "Ellen has the potential to be even better if you don't work hard. Even then, she might be much better than you."
"I hope she is," I said. "That might be a help for her since she just lost her parents."
Jimmy looked at me for a second then pulled me into a hug. He'd never done that before, so I was real surprised.
He said, "Now that's something your mother would have said. You get more like her every day. Be proud Sally. I know she is."
He let me go and we went back out to the others. He whispered to me, "Don't tell Ellen what I said. Let her go at her own speed and find out if she likes this."
"I won't," I whispered. "If she decides she likes gymnastics, I'll help her as much as I can. Maybe she'll be as good as you say too, and I want that for her."
Jimmy smiled at me and whispered back, "You have a big heart for someone so young. Keep it always."
I whispered, "I've had good teachers. Like you and Janny and Mom."
We got back to the others and Jimmy said, "Well I think I have some good material to work with. Take care of them Eldarin. I would hate to loose my best student and her friends."
Uncle Dar said, "I will. By the way, call me Dar. Thats what my friends call me."
"Since todays Wednesday," Jimmy said, "I want them back on Saturday. That way they won't be too tired after their work out tonight. I also want them to continue those stretching exercises and maybe start working on weights a bit. Nothing to heavy, just build up a bit of upper body strength."
Uncle Dar said, "I planned on starting them on some basics for Judo if Sandra and Shelly get permission from their parents. They already said fine to the exercises I've taught them and I'll start working with them tomorrow afternoon."
"That would be good," said Jimmy. "I'll see you five on Saturday then."
We said goodbye to Jimmy and left.
When we got outside, Uncle Dar stopped and said, "I want a promise from all of you. Promise me that you'll stick this out for one month even if you don't like it. At the end of the month, if you don't you can quit. Is that a deal?"
The others all agreed and I said, "I'm in for as long as I can stay. I love this as much as being a Cheerleader."
"I wasn't worried about you Sally. I just want the others to give it a fair chance before deciding if they want to do it or not. I know how hard you have to work to even become a fair gymnast. It isn't easy and you have to keep up the work. It's even harder if you want to be good."
I agreed with that. I started with Mom when I was 6, and when she brought me in to sign up with Jimmy, he'd said the same thing. Being a gymnast was hard work and if you slacked off for even a short time you felt it when you started again, just like for me today. I hadn't worked out properly since Uncle Dar had arrived and I'd felt it today.
After the girls finished at the gym, I took them out for lunch. I loved my new van, because I didn't need help getting in and out anymore. I just used the lift and since I could fit my chair next to the drivers seat, all I had to do was switch.
After eating, I went first to Sandra's home and then to Shelly's. I got permission to instruct them in the basics of Judo and Karate. I hadn't trained in years, but I could get them started well and I knew a few things that they wouldn't learn in a regular class. Comes from working with Special Ops people for all the years that I'd done so.
With the permission slips signed, I took the girls to the school for their practice. We'd arrived a bit early, so we went into the gym to see if Megan was there. It was unlocked and she was in her office.
She saw us come in and waved as we headed toward her office. When we got there she said, "I need you to sign permission slips for Ellen and Nancy to be on the squad. I hate having to do this, but since you are now their legal guardian we need new slips.
I signed them and put in the number for the phone in my room that George had gotten installed for me and listed his and Janice's numbers as emergency contacts.
I decided to contact George's lawyer friend to get a power of attorney done so that they'd be listed as guardians if something happened to me.
I gave the slips back to Megan and said, "I'm going to set it up so if anything happens to me George and Janice are able to take care of the girls in an emergency. I don't want CPS to play games with them again.
Megan said, "Good idea. You can list me as an emergency contact too if you wish."
"Thanks, Megan," I said. "I'll do that."
I then asked, "Do you mind if I use a mat to teach the girls a few things? I'm going to start teaching them a few basics for Judo and Karate and I'd like to use a mat for a bit to teach them how to fall."
Megan said, "Go right ahead. Just put them back when your done. I've got some work to do before practice anyway so have at it."
"Thanks," I said. "I'll make sure it gets put back."
We went over to where a few rolled up exercise mats were and I had the girls grab one and drag it out onto the floor where we would have a bit of clearance from the walls and such. They unrolled it and I had them take off their shoes and socks.
Getting up out of my chair, I walked slowly to the center of the mat. Kneeling there, I meditated for a few minutes and then had them line up in front of me.
Pointing at Nancy I said, "You first. Come and stand in front of me." She walked up and stood where I wanted her . I said, "To start, I want you to do those leg stretches I taught you at home."
She did five on each side and I had her stop.
"Thats good," I said. "Now I'm going to use you to demonstrate how to fall. Turn to your right." She did as I asked.
I slowly took her through a basic back fall and taught her how to roll out of it. After three times, I had Ellen come up.
We went through the same thing with the stretches and then the back roll. I took all five of them through that twice each.
After we finished, I told them to practice it. They went through it with out me holding them three times each. They did well and I told them so.
I started them on some basic movements and a few other things and had them practice on each other slowly. I'd been taught to go through each move I taught them and told them, "Practice this every day. You don't have to spend a lot of time on it, just do it until it feels natural."
Getting up from my knees was a bit hard but I managed and I walked back over to my chair. Sitting down felt good. I had the girls roll up the mat and put it back before taking them out to the field.
Once outside, I told them that what I'd taught them was very basic but could still hurt someone who hadn't had any training like that. I made them promise me that they would only use it for self defense and until I told them otherwise, they were not to try to teach someone else. I'd seen a lot of kids get hurt trying to learn without proper instruction.
They were good listeners and from what I'd observed, they would all do well. My first Sensei had told me that a good student would be visible right from the start. These girls all made me think that they could be even better than I had been 30 years ago.
Other members of the squad started showing up while I'd been talking to them. They had all come up to Sally to tell her that they were glad to see her back. Within a few minutes, that beautiful smile was there and seeing it, I thought my heart would melt. It had been so hard on her while she was waiting to get cleared by the doctor.
Megan came out shortly after the last girl arrived and took them to the end of the field where they normally worked out.
She started them on basic exercises and I watched. She was good at her job and I could tell she loved working with the kids.
I was watching the football game some kids were playing for awhile. I liked watching kids like that. While I was watching, one of the girls came up to me and said, "Coach Coulter wants you."
I said "OK," and started wheeling myself toward the girls. The one who'd come over to get me started pushing me.
We got to the others and Megan said, "How would you like to be involved?"
I said, "I don't know. Tell me what you want first."
Megan said, "I need someone who knows how to march. I want to teach this group so when we go out onto the field at a game it isn't a bunch of kids just running and jumping. I want them to go out as a group and to look good. I'd also like to teach them a few tricks that aren't normally done by Cheerleader squads like this. How bout it?"
I said, "I can teach them to march and I know a few simple things that aren't hard to learn and can look pretty good. They have to learn to line up first, and then we can have them march standing in place so they learn to do it together as a group. Then they learn some commands and we go from there. It doesn't take long."