The Road to Glory - Pt 4It all came down to this. Four 5-man teams, decked out in PT shorts and matching T-shirts. Ours were black, with the words "Respect your superiors" on the back. We hoped this day wouldn't make those words untrue.
As we walked back into the fieldhouse, Rapid City's team was finishing up their mile run. We cheered them on, just as we did Spearfish's team. Then Custer's turn came. McCord and I pulled the guys around us. "We're gonna cheer twice as loud for Custer as anyone! I want to hear you guys make some noise." They nodded and started screaming for the opposing team to move faster. McCord, Nedved, and Skyberg had spent their lunch hour at Walmart, getting markers and posterboard, which they used to make 3 signs, saying Go Big Sioux. On the other side it said Go Blue Team. Considering everyone was in blues most of the day, they figured it was a nice generic rah-rah saying. We found it hilarious, although Clark pretended to be miffed that we didn't have a sign that said Go
The Road to Glory - Pt 3"Indoor presentation of the colors" is a fancy way of saying "Find your way through a room full of obstacles and put the flags in stands". We had practiced every possible combination of obstacles. I knew they could do this. I knew they needed it. But the pressure on them was intense. And all I could do was stand back and watch.
They formed up smartly and stepped off. Completely out of step. I cringed, every fiber of my being willing them to get it together...soon. I knew within the first two steps they made that this would be the lowest point of the day. And it was. They were unsure and shaken. And it showed.
Nothing I could say to them would make it okay, and I knew that. But I had to make sure they snapped out of it. They couldn't see how disappointed I was, or how worried I was that they wouldn't be able to pull it together. We still had two more events.
They halfheartedly marched back up the viewing area and slumped into the chairs. I parked myself next to Gengler. He was the one I
The Road to Glory - Pt 2"Ma'am. Wake up." My eyes opened instantly. McCord, my squadron's cadet commander and the other Color Guard trainer, was standing over my sleeping bag. I sat up, slightly groggy from lack of sleep, but mind already racing. McCord looked haggard. He had driven the 7 hours with 2 of our other guys from the squadron and had just arrived as I was falling asleep. They got less sleep than we did. "It's 5:30, ma'am." I frowned and looked at my watch as I stood.
Major Bonk, our squadron commander, showed up at 7. By then we had already showered and had a bit of practicing under our belts too. The guys were nervous and jumpy, and I knew we needed to get some food in their stomachs. We went off to McDonald's, keeping close eye on the time. They had to be ready for inspection at 8:30. They calmed a bit at breakfast, joking around and having a bit of fun. I on the other hand was incredibly sick to my stomach. Nervousness and worry had made my stomach problems flare up. I told m
The Road to Glory - Pt 1The sign said "Spearfish, 150 miles." We'd already been on the road for five hours, and the five guys behind me in the van had finally moved off the typical locker room humor and on to the subject of time travel. I listened absently as I drove, thinking instead of the long day ahead of us. I cast a glance in the rear view mirror and took stock in my team-- where they seemed to be at mentally and physically.
Meyer sat with his eyes closed, in silent meditation to the music being fed him through his headphones. Quiet and watchful, he was the oldest member of my team. This would be his last competition, for he would be turning 21 in a few months. He was my state flag holder, and we had pulled him onto the team only 2 weeks before. He had had some problems with his timing, but I knew he would perform well. He was also one of the fastest members of my group. I was counting on him to bring us a good time in the mile run.
Lohan, my team's alternate, was in the middle of yet another
Occupational Hazard - Part 57:40 p.m. - Why do we have to work so late? Five of us are slaving away at our desks, waiting for the magical moment of 8:30 to roll around so we can get OUT. Well, perhaps "slaving" isn't the right word. We are...making up words to "The Gambler", by Kenny Rogers. We've decided we need a sales team anthem. And what better time to get these important things done than after everyone's gone in the department but us?
Dan strikes up a tiny "string" instrument made from big paperclips and rubber bands, and Chris plays seriously lame air banjo as we chuckle and sing the words we have so far...
on a warm summer's eve
on an outbound call to nowhere
I met up with a customer
who was much too dumb to see
That I was calling only
to sell him crappy products
i sensed that he was easy prey
and I began to speak
I said, "Sir, I've made a life
out of 'helpin' folks get richer'
and givin' them the bank they need
when they didn't even know.
And if you don't mind my sayin',
you're in debt to your ey
Occupational Hazard - Part 410:43 a.m. -- We're bored. The boss is gone to some conference where they decide policies that affect us (usually as adversely as possible); Jody the Babysitting Gnome is out to some appointment; and we have nothing to do. Well, let me rephrase that. We have nothing fun to do. We've already thrown enough paper clips and rubber bands at each other to scare the crap out of the cleaning lady when she comes to vacuum later tonight, Ross has already broken the tiny basketball hoop put up at eye level by my boss in an effort to increase morale (Ross showed us a great dunk, but the poor $1.00 hoop just couldn't take "the THUNDA!"), and my cell*coughCUBICLE* -mate Kelsey has already loudly pronounced his view of the new CMS report, which stated that he was 14 seconds late coming back from his after-lunch break. We're sympathetic. We know he ate Taco Bell for lunch. We're surprised he made it back at all.
There is nothing so terrifying as eight guys and one girl, all early-to-mid-twentie
Occupational Hazard - Part 32:45 p.m. - I'm on the phone with a guy who called to ask for CD rates. He says he has to invest a small amount from his late mother's estate. That "small amount" is $940,900 and some-odd change. After crawling back up on my chair and wiping the drool off my face, I struggle to push images of "Kit Schroeder - Employee of the CENTURY" out of my head and coherently converse about financial solutions. He asks what position I serve in the bank (to ascertain if I was 'good enough' to discuss his situation), and I smiled into the phone as the words rolled off my tongue. "Of course, sir; I'm the Senior Financial Teleconsultant here." Now, this is true. Kind of. I am the senior member of my team [of 10 people, due to longevity, because 85% of phone bankers leave within 6 months...but these are all SUCH unimportant details...]. I HAVE been listed on the national Top 10 list for top salespeople in the bank nationwide for the last 2 months, but I figure it isn't the right time to ment
Occupational Hazard - Part 27:59 a.m. - I sprint into my cubicle, holding a McDonald's bag, a soda, and my dark blue nail polish. [Hey. It's Tuesday. It'll be slow.] I log into my phone quickly and collapse into my chair. Leaving my phone in "after call" status so I don't get any customer calls yet, I open up my Sausage McMuffin and inhale deeplysavoring the promise of grease-filled goodness. I'm mid-bite when my phone rings. The display says "Jody McMillian". Great. It's one of the "babysitter trolls". I slurp some soda, trying to empty my mouth before answering.
"Thith ith Kit." *swallow*
"Kit? Yeah. Hi. Um, I noticed you were a minute and 13 seconds late signing into your phone today. Just wanted to make sure you are aware that we don't like to see tardiness." Her nasal voice permeates everything that is good and right with the world and makes my sandwich taste like grade-school cafeteria tunafish.
"Uh, yeah, Jody. I had to put down my stuff. I'm on now though...check that monitor again!" I