The Gymnasts #8- Captain of the Team

Yep here is a recap of my favorite Gymnasts book as a kid-  Captain of the Team!!!

Patrick wants the girls to practice the aerial cartwheel.  The Pinecones have two meets scheduled against the Atomic Amazons next month. Jodi and Lauren say they want to play an easier team, and Darlene thinks to herself that all of the jokes the girls say about how much better a team the Amazons are than the Pinecones are getting seriously old.  By the way, an aerial cartwheel is a cartwheel with no hands. I remember trying to do that in intermediate gymnastics in fifth grade, and I basically couldn’t do it- it’s fucking hard!  Ti An does a beautiful job with the aerial cartwheel. She’s only 8 years old but she’s very powerful.  Darlene needs Patrick to spot her on the aerial cartwheel, and Patrick says they don’t allow spots at the meet, so Darlene really has to learn to do the aerial cartwheel well.  Lauren and Darlene then go to do some stretches, and Lauren says she doesn’t want to go against the Amazons and she knows the Amazons will beat the Pinecones. Darlene says to stop the defeatist attitude and that they have to visualize winning against the Amazons, and Lauren says that Darlene sounds like an old crank, and Darlene says that she is older than the rest of the Pinecones.  We then hear that Patrick used to work for Coach Darrell Miller the coach for the Amazons, and Patrick left because Coach Miller thought Patrick was too soft.  Darlene says that Ti An was an Amazon and came to Evergreen Academy and Ti An says that’s because Coach Miller said Ti An wasn’t enough of a fighter and made her feel she wasn’t good enough for Coach Miller. Ashley snottily says, ” Probably you weren’t. ” Ashley sucks. And so does that Becky Dyson.

Coach Miller calls Patrick from his ” car phone”- not the cell phone, but those big old car phones people used to have- anyone remember the car phone? Well Coach Miller insists Patrick get on the phone because he will be out of range soon. Ashley then asks Darlene if her dad has a car phone- and then we hear how Darlene’s father is Big Beef Broderick from the Denver Broncos, as Darlene always mentions in her own books. Darlene says that no her dad does not have a car phone because he says they are a menace on the road.  Jodi then says that her mom has been dating a man with a car phone- Barking Barney- he apparently owns a bunch of pet stores and has really corny commercials.  Patrick then announces that Coach Miller says the meets can’t be on Mondays as scheduled. He insists that the first meet must be Thursday at 4.  Darlene gets upset because Thursdays are the days that she visits her great grandma Gee Gee in the nursing home.  Patrick says he is sorry but they can’t change the day of the meet.  Darlene doesn’t get why Coach Miller always has to have his way.

Darlene gets home, and her baby sister Deirdre comes to the door and says ” poop” and her diaper totally stinks. Deirdre is 14 months old. Then Darlene’s other sister Debi sings, ” Deirdre stinks! Deirdre stinks!!”  Darlene’s dad shouts from his downstairs gym to change Deirdre because he is working out.  Darlene then tells her dad that she is tired of the Pinecones always sniping at each other , and now they are complaining about Patrick saying that Coach Miller is a better coach, and Darlene doesn’t like the team’s attitude.  Darlene’s daddy says that as the oldest, Darlene should try to be a good example to the other girls and try to help them change their attitudes, and Big Beef should know as he is the oldest of the Broncos and he has to always be an example to his teammates.  I do have to say that I like that the Gymnast girls come to their parents for advice, and that these girls mostly act like they are 11, or 13, or whatever. None of them have jobs as cashiers or run around big cities alone.

Darlene is at gymnastics practice, and she gets a big rip on her palms ( blisters that bleed over) while practicing on the uneven bars. As Darlene goes to put ice on her hands, Becky is icing her ankle that she hurt awhile ago. Darlene says her grandma would say that Becky is ” mean as a pig and twice as nasty” if Gee ever came across Becky.  Becky says her ankle better be ready in time for the meet because she intends to be at that meet even if she is taped to a wall up to her armpits. Darlene thinks to herself that she has to admit that Becky is a born competitor.  Becky then says the Pinecones are pathetic and Darlene says that the Pinecones try their best and they want to win- and Becky says there is no ” try” and ” want” a real gymnast just goes out there knowing she can win.  Cindi also gets a rip. Darlene then tries to rally the Pinecones and is all ” who is going to win that meet tomorrow?” and wants them to cheer, and only Cindi does a halfhearted cheer.

At the meet, Darlene tries to befriend a little girl who is an Amazon, Hilary, while Hilary is picking up her springboard, but Coach Miller yells at Hilary to get moving.  Coach Miller pretty much calls Hilary a weakling!  Jodi has her sweatshirt tied around her waist and Ashley says Jodi looks sloppy and the Amazons always look so nice and neat. Shit, bitch, then join the Amazons and shut your craw!! Then the girls watch Hilary do a back flip while Coach Miller is spotting her and they are wicked impressed as none of them can do backflips yet. Patrick says that Hilary can’t do that move without a heavy spot, and it’s a trick to plant seeds of doubt in their minds. 

First they are up on the beam and the Atomic Amazons do really well. Then Cindi is up on the beam and she’s one of the better gymnasts but she totally screws up.  Ti An is even worse! Darlene is the best on the beam of the Pinecones, but three of the Amazons did better than Darlene so she can’t place for a medal.  Darlene then falls hard on her hips during the uneven bar routine, because her rip hurts so much.  Cindi does great on the uneven bars, but one of the judges gives her a wicked low score!  Then Coach Miller goes up to Cindi after the meet and tells her ” I can tell you are a fighter you didn’t give up just because of some little rip.” OUCH to Darlene! Then Patrick tells Coach Miller not to comment on how his gymnasts do, and crap Coach Miller is all ” oh afraid I will steal one of your gymnasts?” Coach Miller sucks right along with Becky and Ashley.

Cindi is upset that Coach Miller wanted to recruit her. Becky says Cindi should be flattered as Coach Miller is the best ( then again- SHIT BITCH JOIN THEM) and Cindi almost cries and says she doesn’t want to leave the Pinecones.  Darlene actually asks Becky why she’s not an Amazon and she basically says it’s because she’s too lazy and Coach Miller is a drill sargeant.  Darlene says the Pinecones have to get back into shape, and Cindi says to give that dream up. Darlene realizes that motivating the others isn’t going to be easy!

Darlene and her dad go to visit Gee Gee the next day. Incidentally, Gee Gee is a wicked kick ass old lady. Gee Gee is who I remember most from this book!  Darlene tells Gee Gee about how her team is no longer motivated and Gee Gee says it’s up to her to motivate the others as the oldest. Darlene says she’s just a kid. Gee Gee says that ” just kids” not much older than Darlene are the ones who marched with Dr. King.  And Gee Gee says she’s just an old lady but she organized the other old folks into getting better food at the nursing home instead of just sitting there and complaining.  Gee Gee tells Darlene not to let the team slip slide away. GEE GEE FOR LIFE!!! She is almost as cool as Mimi from the BSC if you ask me.

Darlene learns on Monday that Cindi and Lauren played hooky from gymnastics on Friday and went to the mall.  Darlene thinks that if Cindi and Lauren skipped gymnastics just because they were upset, the team is even worse off than she imagined.  Patrick announces that he and the other coach at Evergreen ( Jodi’s mom) both have to renew their licenses to coach gymnastics and they will be gone for four working days. Patrick got a woman who coaches at the University of Colorado, Anna Elizabeth Kossuck, to fill in for Patrick while he is gone. Patrick says Anna is a good coach and he feels they can all learn a great deal from her, though her style is different than Pat’s.  Patrick will be gone until the morning of the meet!  Jodi says that Coach Miller probably rigged things so that Patrick would be gone the day of the meet, and Patrick tells Jodi not even Coach Miller has that much pull.  Patrick then announces that he wants the ladies to pick a captain to help boost team spirit while he is gone.  Darlene nominates Cindi and Cindi nominates Darlene.  The girls vote, and in case you couldn’t tell by the narrator and the book title, Darlene is picked to be captain!

Ms. Kossuth is now coaching while Pat is gone. Ashley is all wanting to be teacher’s pet and keeps saying ” Look at me Ms. Kossuth!!!” Ms. Kossuth does not let the girls call her Anna, and she does not allow spotting. We also learn that she is middle aged and fairly overweight.  Ms. Kossuth also does not allow any joking.  Jodi tells Ashley to knock off the teacher’s pet routine and Darlene tells Jodi not to snipe at Ashley because, yes, Ashley is a pain, but the Pinecones are a team.  Jodi asks Darlene when she became Ashley’s big defender and Cindi snarkily says ” since she became Captain.”  Ashley then says it’s not fair that Jodi won’t listen to Ms. Kossuth and she could teach them all a lot and Darlene tells Ashley she’s tired of hearing ” it’s not fair.”   Jodi then falls,  Ashley pretty much says Jodi is exaggerating being hurt and Cindi claps her hand over Ashley’s mouth. Ms Kossuth is fed up and orders the girls to do 20 handstand push-ups as punishment.  Cindi is Darlene’s partner but she won’t pull enough to let Darlene do the handstand push up. Darlene tells Cindi to pull and Cindi is all bitchy and is like ” running out of fuel, Captain?”  Darlene then says there will be a meeting at her house of all the Pinecones on Saturday basically to try to adjust their attitudes.

Darlene tells the girls at the team meeting at her place that they let Coach Miller get to them and the Pinecones need to be a team again.  Darlene also tells Ashley to imitate Becky as a gymnast and not a person and basically to stop always sniping at others.  Cindi says ” right on Darlene” and Darlene tells Cindi that she is always goading Ashley  and she reacts to every little thing Ashley says, and Ashley is as much a Pinecone as Cindi is.  Cindi says Darlene can’t tell her what to do and Darlene says well I was voted Captain and Cindi is all ” well I nominated you but don’t think that means I voted for you.” God is Cindi always this bitchy?  Cindi continues the bitch act and Darlene tells her to shut up for the good of the team!  Cindi then leaves abruptly.  Obviously the team meeting didn’t work out and was a distaster. Darlene tells that to her dad,  and her dad says she can’t expect one inspirational speech to turn the team around- Darlene you aren’t in Sweet Valley land after all.

Darlene calls Cindi that night, and they make up.  Darlene is all happy and Big Beef tells asks her why and Darlene says it’s because Cindi said she was sorry and so did Darlene. Big Beef tells Darlene ( Hey I like calling Darlene’s dad Big Beef) that Darlene had nothing to be sorry about and she is the captain and has to lead by example, and Cindi should not be allowed to pick on Ashley.  Darlene’s dad says you have to learn to cope with all kinds of jerks in this world and as captain worry about the good of the team.

At the next practice, Darlene tells the girls plain and simple that they cannot snipe at each other any more- they have to think about the good of the team and unite against the Atomic Amazons instead of each other.  Then Darlene says she has a great idea to psych out Coach Miller at the next meet!  And when Darlene asks Ms. Kossuth about it, she says it’s a great idea and has this big smile on her face. So Anna E Kossuth has some sense of humor after all!

The day of the meet, Jodi is really upset. Patrick and her mom won’t be there in time for the meet! The airport is too fogged in and they can’t fly out. Darlene says to the girls to remember their ” secret weapon.”  Well, Big Beef wheels in Gee Gee who is wearing a turban and a feather boa.  Gee Gee tells Coach Miller she is the Pinecones inner/outer winner coach and Anna K says she is well known.  Gee Gee says she opens each Pinecone’s ” inner door” so she can let out the “winner” in her through the outer door. Yeah, I think that I got that right.  Grandiose Gladys as she is called is the motivation coach for the Denver Broncos or so they tell Coach Miller.  Gee Gee then has each girl roll over.  She then rubs the feather boa on all the girls as if it had magical powers. It’s pretty funny.

Well as a result of Grandiose Gladys, the Amazons seemed to have lost all of their confidence and they keep messing up.  Darlene messes up  her vault and Ashley says it was garbage. Darlene says to Ashley she is tired of that talk, and tells her to stop it and they are not counted out yet and the Pinecones have to all try their best.  Well, Ashley, Ti An, Jodi, Cindi and Lauren all do great vaults.  Then Patrick shows up- and sees that the girls are all doing great and seem more motivated and he asks what the change was caused by, and Cindi says it was all due to Darlene motivating them-yeah!  And because Darlene nails her floor routine- THE PINECONES WIN THE MEET!!!! And Darlene is all ” we’re the pinecones, and we’re HOT!!”  Oh, and we also learn that everyone did vote Darlene captain- except Darlene because she wrote Cindi’s name down!!!!

By the end of the week, I will try to recap ” Out of Reach” which is the SVH book about good old Jade Wu the Chinese dancer. Other books I will soon be recapping include- Stacey vs the BSC,  Karen’s Sister which is BSC Little Sister #6, Stephanie and The Wedding which is a Sleepover Friends book, BSC @26 Claudia and the Sad Goodbye, and SVU #3- What your parents don’t know. All of that and more coming up!


2 Responses to “The Gymnasts #8- Captain of the Team”

  1. “Becky says there is no ” try” and ” want” a real gymnast just goes out there knowing she can win.”

    So Becky is Yoda. Awesome.

    And I love how Gee Gee compared motivating a gymnastics team to marching with Dr. King. By the way, “Don’t talk to ME about Mr. King!”

  2. girltalkread Says:

    OMG Becky is TOTAL Yoda!!!!! HAH HAH Shannon!!!! And well I guess YA novelists love them so Dr King- or really would probably make King roll over in his grave- but no matter. And ummm yeah Friend against Friend is a horrible book!!

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