Blame it on the Boss in Roma

Bully pulpit takes on a new meaning

It happened in the gymnasium…


One hundred chairs were pushed against the four walls of the gymnasium.

The entire Seventh and Eighth grade classes were seated in the flimsy metal chairs.

A large colorful banner read “Welcome to cheerleader tryouts!!!”

Twenty-five girls were to walk to the center of the room and perform their cheerleading routine.

No props, no pom-poms, no gymnastics. All the girls wore their gray pleated uniform skirts, white oxford cloth blouses, and green sweaters.

Cindy Cahill wanted to go first. She had grown breasts over the summer and her popularity and confidence  had apparently blossomed, too.

The nun had a clipboard and lined the  girls up alphabetically, by grade.

One by one, shy girls, big girls, little girls; loud girls and really bouncy, vivacious girls took their places. They yelled, clapped, swirled and twirled, shook their hips, forced smiles, and pumped the air with enthusiasm,

No less than five girls selected the same, “Thunder, thunder, thunder-ration-We are the Crusader Congregation” cheer. Too bad.

This particular routine demanded a team effort and a cacophony of cheer support. Sister Mary Mean glared at any student trying to help the girls.

Kathryn Kelly, number 12, was in Seventh grade, had braces and towered over most the boys in the school. She had been practicing her routine for two weeks in the family garage. She had her three little sisters as her audience and they clapped wildly every time she performed.

She walked to the center of the huge gymnasium and saw a hundred pairs of eyes staring. At her. She gracefully placed her right hand on her hip and in a loud voice started, “Victory, Victory…”

Her voice had shot up three octaves as she squeaked the word Victory.

The students laughed. She froze for 10 very  long seconds, cleared her throat and belted out, “Victory, victory, that’s our cry!   V-I-C-T-O-R-Y!

She cut the cheer short, pumped the air with make-believe pom-poms and took a bow.

Several of the Eighth grade girls started clapping, so the Eighth-grade boys did the same.

Kathryn nonchalantly raced from the room – confused by the applause.

Votes were cast later that day. Kathryn didn’t taste victory.

Twenty years later, she realized she had a great story.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Victory.”

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