The Parting Of The Ways

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Charlie Makes Another Patriotic Speech

Charlie was stood at the front of a crowded classroom with Athene her next in command. Julie was casually leaning against the teacher's desk next to them, ready to step up if she needed to.

“Right ladies,” said Charlie looking around at the girls, “those boys have won the challenge cup for the last two years! But this year that is going to change!”

“How?” asked one of the fifth formers, “they always beat us in the obstacle course, the school quiz is usually a tie between Athene and Anthony, they’ve won the rugby every year but once.”

“And,” complained Lizzie, “there’s not even going to be a Home Ec event this year, because the boys said it was unfair!”

“And what has the Home Ec been replaced with?” asked Julie beaming.

“Tennis,” shrugged a fourth form girl.

“And the boys don’t know one end of the racket from the other,” said Athene.

“But what about the obstacle course?”

“And the rugby!”

“The obstacle course has been changed, and the rugby we’re going to work on.”

“How has it been changed?” asked Diana a lower Fifth girl who was in the cadets with Charlie.

“Well, only two people have to enter per team. You have to do the obstacle course, then run the 1000 metres from the course to the swimming pool, and then do five lengths each way of the pool freestyle. Whichever team finishes first wins, but both have to finish.”

“That sounds like Hell on earth,” groaned Julie.

“That sounds amazing!” beamed Diana.

“If anyone can do it we can Di!” said Charlie shaking Diana’s hand.

“And as for the rugby,” said Athene, “all it takes is a bit of practice.”

“We’re going to lose!” sighed a lower fifth girl.

“Again,” agreed an upper fourth girl.

“We are not going to lose!” said Athene taking over from Charlie.

“Do you lot not even remember why we started this in the first place?”

“The boys think they’re better than us! If we just give in, we’ll prove them right!”

“But what if we don’t win?” said Lucy.

“Then we try our hardest and lose with dignity!” said Charlie proudly.

“We are British! If you don’t lose with dignity, you lose your dignity!”

“What?” asked Julie confused.

“Never mind,” muttered Charlie, “to the battlefield!”

“We’re not going to die, are we?” asked a terrified Third Former.

“No,” laughed Athene, “we’re going to play some rugby!”

The girls practised for the whole month of March, practising on the rugby pitch in the torrential rain or perfecting their tennis serve.

On the morning of the last day before the end of term, Athene woke up and looked at the window nervously. She had been hoping and praying for good weather today for the last month.

Her prayers had been answered, the sun was shining brightly and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

“Charlie!” she called jumping down from her bunk, “Julie!”

“Hmmm?” mumbled Julie.

“Wake up!” beamed Athene “we’ve got some boys to beat!”

The three girls jumped out of bed and pulled on their sports kit before they ran downstairs to start knocking on the doors to wake up the other girls.

As the majority of the events, this year were sports events the girl's team were trying to be in the best shape possible. This meant waking up at six o’clock and going for a run for an hour every morning whilst the boys had a lie in.

“Why do we have to be up so early?” grumbled Lucy as she stretched before the run.

“It’s all going to be worth it this afternoon when we win,” said Diana.

“If we don’t win I think I might just give up!” muttered Julie.

“Never give up!” said Charlie.

“For we are British!” said Julie dramatically.

“And we shall never surrender!” yelled all the girls.

“Let’s run then!” said Charlie leading the way.

It was a very packed schedule, there was the tennis tournament and the school quiz that took up the whole morning and had to be run at the same time as each other.

The girls beat the boys at the tennis when Julie and one of the Fifth Formers won the final doubles match.

The quiz, however, was close as usual, and Athene and Anthony were the two team captains.

“Surprise surprise,” said Mr Mitchell shaking his head, “we’ve got a tie again!”

“You get a tie every ruddy year!” yelled Mr Davies.

“Athene, Anthony you know the drill.”

Anthony and Athene nodded at each other as they got ready for the final question.

“This year, the final question is maths.”

Anthony looked relieved.

“With Roman Numerals.”

His face fell, he could never get the numerals right.

“Your question is XV multiplied by XXXIII.”

Anthony looked terrified as he quickly tried to jot down the answer before converting it into Roman numerals, before buzzing in his answer.

“Um, 495 DXCV?” he asked nervously.

“That’s not quite right Anthony,” said Mr Mitchell shaking his head.

“Athene?”

“CDXCV, 495.”

“That is correct Athene, the answer you gave me Anthony was 595.”

“This means that the girls are the winners of the quiz!”

“Well done Athene,” laughed Anthony shaking her hand.

“You do know I wouldn’t have got that answer if you hadn’t got it wrong by one letter?”

“Yeah, I know, I know,” chuckled Anthony.

After a quick lunch, everyone gathered to watch the first-ever St. Christopher’s triathlon.

Charlie and Diana were standing by the start line with mud as war paint.

“See you on the other side Charlie!” laughed Harry.

“We’re going to thrash you!” snarled Henry who was still angry about losing the tennis final.

At this moment Mr Davies came to the starting line with the starting pistol.

“On your marks get set!”

There was a loud bang as the starting pistol was fired and the girls raced across the line.

Charlie and Diana helped each other around the obstacle course, so even if the boys were a bit ahead of them, it wasn’t by much, and this event wasn’t won by one person, it wasn’t over until the whole team finished.

Charlie and Diana managed to make up most of the time they had lost during the run though, so by the time they had stripped down to their swimming costumes, the boys were only half a length of the swimming pool ahead of them.

Although the boys may have been better on the obstacle course, Harry was about the same standard in the swimming as Charlie, so Harry finished half a length ahead of her.

But Henry, although he had a big mouth and he was quite athletic, was only an average swimmer. This is why Diana finished a length and a half ahead of him.

“We did it Di!” yelled Charlie jumping up and down hugging Diana.

They were both jumping up and down in soaking wet swimming costumes and Henry was furious as he got out having finished his last lap.

“You must have cheated!”

“Or maybe we just practised,” suggested Diana as they went to go and get ready for the rugby match.

The girls had already won three events, so whether they won the rugby or not they were going to win the cup.

The boys though were adamant that they were going to win at least one of the events that day, which led to a large amount of cheating from the boys team, passing the ball forward rather than backwards when the ref wasn’t watching and tripping up the girls on purpose.

There was thirty seconds left, and the boys were winning 30 points to the girls 29.

But the girls had a kick conversion, if Charlie kicked this ball over the post, they’d win.

Charlie looked at the mud-splattered Harry who gave her a firm nod. The other boys might be annoyed if they didn’t win, but Harry didn’t care.

Charlie nodded at him and kicked the ball straight over the post.

Mr Davies blew his whistle.

“The final score is 31-29 to the girl's team. This makes the girls the indisputable winners of the Challenge Cup 1958!”

There were several groans of disappointment, but they were barely audible over the roars and screams of celebrations from the girls. They had claimed back their trophy and weren’t going to let it out of their sight again!

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