Every Friendship has a Beginning

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Mr Davies Teaches Them All How To Yell

Anthony stretched slightly as he woke up. He’d always been an early riser but was used to sharing a room with his brother.

He pulled on his glasses and checked his watch. Half-past five.

He went around to the window and checked under the curtain, and saw that the sun was very slowly beginning to rise.

Anthony smiled slightly as hitched himself up onto the windowsill, and closed the curtain behind him. The windowsill was thin, but not so thin that he couldn’t curl up properly to read.

He’d just reached the part in the book where the infant version of the God Hermes had stolen his brother Apollo’s sacred cattle when there was the sound of a loud bell again.

He could hear a fair amount of grumbling and groaning from his dormmates as they all woke up.

“Where’s Tony?” muttered Harry, brushing sleep out of his eyes.

“Check behind the curtain,” mumbled Mark, before putting his pillow over his head to try and get a few more minutes of sleep.

Malcolm, who had one of the beds behind the window, opened the curtain and found Anthony with his head stuck in a book.

“How did you know?” asked Malcolm astounded, as Anthony got down from the windowsill.

“Intuition?” suggested Mark as he grudgingly got out of bed.

“And also the fact that I’ve shared a room with Tony for eleven years, I know him too well.”

Anthony got dressed and did up his tie, which he checked quickly in the bathroom mirror after he did his teeth.

“Come on Tony!” Mark called, “we’ll be late!”

It seemed a bit strange, that Anthony was the one trailing behind for once, but he wanted to make sure that he had his uniform on just right.

Anthony ran slightly to catch up with the others.

After breakfast, they had to go to the welcome assembly, after which they were joined with Mr Thomas’ house.

There was twenty-five of them in total in Upper Third Alpha and the morning was fairly normal. They had Maths with Mr Thomas in the morning and then English, and Science before lunch.

After lunch, the whole year gathered on the games pitch. The boys were wearing rugby jerseys and games shorts, as there were only five girls in the whole school, for now, the girls could wear whatever they wanted for games practise.

Charlie was wearing the same as the boys. She was wearing a pair of her brother’s old games shorts and another one of her brother's old rugby jerseys. She looked in her element. Athene was wearing a Wales rugby top, which was a little bit big on her and a pair of shorts. Lizzie, Lucy, and Julie were wearing games tunics.

“Right!” called Mr Davies.

“Who here has played any rugby before?”

Everyone looked around nervously, a couple of the boys, put their hands in the air as well as Athene.

“Don’t worry you’ll soon get the hang of it,” said Mr Davies.

“Ok then, ladies, you’ve got a few options. The first option is that you run around the pitch for an hour.”

The girls looked seriously unimpressed.

“Option number two,” chuckled Mr Davies at the girl's looks of horror, “is to play a bit of rugby with the boys. Don’t worry we’re only going to be playing touch, for now, no contact.”

Charlie’s face lit up like a lightbulb.

“Option number three is, you lot play some netball or something on your own.”

Julie put her hand in the air.

“Isn’t there a fourth option?”

“You can watch today if you want and decide later,” said Mr Davies.

Rupert put his own hand in the air.

“Do we get that option?” asked Rupert eagerly.

“No,” said Mr Davies abruptly, “you lot are going to learn some rugby!”

“Right one lap of the pitch for a warmup!”

The boys somewhat grudgingly began to run around the pitch led by Harry and Charlie, Julie, Lizzie and Lucy trailed on the end but still finished their lap.

Julie, Lizzie and Lucy watched from the side of the pitch whilst Mr Davies taught the others how to do passing drills.

“Ok you lot, spread out in a straight line down the pitch!” he bellowed.

The forty or so first years spread out down one side of the pitch.

Mr Davies ran down to the opposite end of the pitch.

“The first you’ve got to learn about Rugby!” he called loudly, “is how to shout!”

“Why?” yelled Mark.

“So that I can hear you from the other side of the pitch, a rugger pitch is huge.”

“When you want to be passed the ball you’ve got to yell, yell louder than anyone else on the pitch.”

“Ready ready up!” he yelled his voice echoing around the pitch.

“Now it’s your turn, give me your worst.”

“Aren’t we going to disturb people in class?” asked Harry.

“They’re used to it,” smirked Mr Davies.

“Now give me your worst!”

“Ready, ready up!” called the first years half-heartedly.

“Not loud enough,” scoffed Mr Davies, “nowhere near!”

“Ready ready up!” they yelled at the top of the voices.

Several of the older boys leaned out the classroom window from the main school and replied “Up!”

“I think you got it that time Dragon!” called Simon out of the window.

Clearly, this was an annual event, and the older students were listening out for them.

“Get back to class Pennington or I’ll have to take that badge away!”

Simon beamed at him before ducking back in the window to get back to Physics class.

Mr Davies came running back towards the first years.

“Now that we’ve dealt with that, we can get to business.”

“Rule number one, never pass the ball forwards, always pass it backwards.”

“This means, that when you run, you have to leave a gap between you and the person next to you so they can pass backwards, and then you pass backwards and so on.”

“We’ll start off by practising with walking the passing drill.”

Mr Davies threw the ball down to Athene at one end of the line who caught the ball easily.

“If you want the ball, all you have to do is call up.”

Mr Davies nodded at Athene who took a deep breath.

“Ready, ready up!” she bellowed, before walking in front a bit and passing the ball back to Charlie.

Anthony had never heard Athene shout so loudly. She clearly had different voices for on and off the pitch.

The practised this walking for a while before Mr Davies split them into four groups and they practised the passing drills, one group, at a time, at a run.

At the end of the hour, Athene and Charlie were completely covered in mud and exhausted but had proved that they could easily keep up with the boys.

“It’s a shame I can’t sneak you two onto the ruddy team,” sighed Mr Davies as they all headed back inside after practise, “you’d make great wingers.”

“Couldn’t we just cut my hair a bit more,” asked Charlie, “we could get away with it.”

“We might have been to get away with it,” chuckled Mr Davies.

“Until you started to develop,” sniggered Harry.

“Ugghh!” groaned Charlie in disgust.

“Go on get cleaned up, if you lot are late for Latin, Mitchell will have my guts for garters.”

“Yes sir,” giggled Athene and Charlie as they ran in for a quick shower to get rid of the mud. The other three girls hadn’t joined in today, so they weren’t dirty at all.

They arrived at Mr Mitchell’s classroom just in time for class to start.

“I heard you lot out on the pitch,” chuckled Mr Mitchell as they all sat down.

“Do you think we were loud enough sir?” asked Harry.

“Well I wouldn’t want to run into you lot on a dark night,” laughed Mr Mitchell, “you’d scare the ruddy daylights out of me.”

“Is that a good thing sir?” asked Lucy.

“For rugby?” he asked, “surprisingly yes.”

“But on with the Latin, has anyone done any before?”

No one put their hands up, Mark looked around the room and put his hand up.

“Yes?”

“My older brother Simon taught me something.”

“Go on,” said Mr Mitchell more than slightly wary.

Mark beamed and stood up before clearing his throat loudly to recite.

“Roman is a dead language, as dead as dead can be. It’s killed off all the Romans, and now it’s killing me!”

He gave a dramatic groan and clutched onto his chest at the end of the poem.

The classroom was full of laughter.

“Yes yes thank you, Mark,” muttered Mr Mitchell shaking his head in exasperation, “you can sit back down now please.”

Mark turned around and gave his classmates a brief bow before sitting back down next to Julie.

“What Mark said though is true, the Romans are all dead and have been for well over a thousand years. Can you think of anyone who still uses Latin on a regular basis now?”

Athene put her hand in the air.

“The Roman Catholics sir,” said Athene, “they use Latin in their church services.”

“The is correct,” said Mr Mitchell, “in fact in Vatican City where the Pope himself lives, Latin is the first language instead of its more modern counterpart Italian.”

“Any other uses you can think of?”

Charlie shoved her hand in the air but didn’t wait to be called on, excited to actually know an answer.

“My Dad told me that a lot of medical terminology comes from Latin.”

“That’s also correct, particularly the body parts, if anyone of you here want to go into the medical profession, Latin could be extremely useful.”

“Today we are going to learn two verbs, one regular and one irregular.”

“Esse,” he muttered as he wrote out the verb on the blackboard, “To Be.”

“And Amo, to love.”

There was a large amount of giggling and chuckling around the class.

“Yes, I know it’s very amusing,” sighed Mr Mitchell, “but the verb to love is one of the best to start off with as it is a commonly used verb with regular endings.”

The classroom was full of sniggering as the room full of eleven-year-olds copied down the verb to love.

Once they had copied them down, they went over the verbs and the different endings. Then, Mr Mitchell leant against his desk at the front of the classroom, as he told them all the story of how the Greek’s thought the world had formed out of chaos.

“Next lesson, you’re going to find out what Cronos did to his terrible father Uranus.”

“For homework, could you all please learn those first two verbs, Anthony, Athene could you stay behind please.”

Most of the class left, apart from Mark. Charlie, Harry and Julie were waiting for him by the doorway.

“You going to be ok Tony?” asked Mark.

“Yeah I’ll be fine,” shrugged Anthony.

“Come on Fred,” called Julie, “let's get some practice in before tea.”

“Coming Ginger,” said Mark giving his brother a quick pat on the back, before leaving the classroom.

“Have we done something wrong sir?” asked Athene nervously.

“On the contrary,” said Mr Mitchell sitting down on a desk nearer them, “I believe I might have terrified both of you yesterday.”

“What do you mean sir?” asked Anthony.

“Your brother Nick came to talk to me this morning, told me you were both nervous about starting Latin. As you can see, you’re at the exact same point as all the others.”

“Oh we weren’t nervous sir,” stammered Athene.

“More just curious, at what you were so enthusiastic about,” said Anthony.

“Nick told me you two got some Greek mythology books out, had a chance to look through yet?”

“Oh they’re fascinating, could hardly put it down,” enthused Anthony.

“I hardly knew that I was a Greek Goddess,” giggled Athene, “let alone that I emerged fully grown from Zeus’ head!”

“So what did you think of your first day?”

“Excellent,” beamed Athene.

“She’s the best rugby player in the year,” said Anthony.

“Really?” asked Mr Mitchell clearly impressed.

“I’ve just got a bit more experience,” said Athene somewhat shyly.

“Good, now go get on with learning those verbs.”

“But we already know them!” exclaimed Anthony, Athene nodding in agreement.

“Do you now?” he asked curiously.

They looked at each other before nodding and beginning to chant as they had done in class.

“Sum, es, est, sumus, estis, sunt. Amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant.”

“Well done!” said Mr Mitchell smiling, “go on, it’ll be tea soon. If you don’t show up soon your friends will start looking for you.”

They all had a quick tea, which was followed by an hours Prep. It was only five o’clock and it was the first day, there were no clubs tonight.

“Hey Athens,” called Harry as they dropped off their bags, “could we practise a few rugby drills?”

“Alright,” beamed Athene.

“I’m going to have to get muddy aren’t I?” asked Julie somewhat disgusted.

“Would you rather Athens teach you how to catch a ball, or run laps of the pitch for three hours a week?”

Julie was quiet for a moment as if considering her two options.

“Fine!” she sighed.

“Come on Ginger,” chuckled Mark as they pulled on their trainers.

They all pulled off their ties, jumpers and blazers, and Athene borrowed a rugby ball from Simon.

The six of them chucked the ball around until they got the drill right.

“Hey Athene,” asked Charlie, “could you show me to do that lift like in the photo?”

“Do somebody say lift?” asked Julie excitedly, her attention being drawn away from cloud watching.

“It’s not a dance lift stupid,” snorted Harry.

“Actually, they’re not all that different,” said Athene.

Mark and Harry got up, and Athene showed them what to do as she stood between them.

“This is called a line-out; it’s used sometimes if the ball goes offside.”

They both crouched down and grabbed her thighs, one from the back the other from the front, she should have been wearing shorts, but it didn’t really matter as they were only practising.

“So little jump, big jump and on the second jump you lift me in there, and Anthony throws over the ball.”

“Little jump, big jump,” nodded Mark.

“See, it’s just like a dance lift,” insisted Julie.

“You ready Athens?”

“Born ready,” beamed Athene.

They demonstrated the line out, and she caught the ball instantly.

Then Charlie had a go.

“I feel like I’m flying!” exclaimed Charlie holding her arms out like wings as the boys lifted her up in the air.

“I love rugby!” she screamed.

“Glad to hear it!” laughed Athene as Charlie was put back on the ground.

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