Some are middle-aged, some are old. Most are teenage girls.
The girls are tall. Some tower over their mothers and grandmothers by a whole foot. The girls wear long-sleeved jerseys with numbers. One carries a volleyball.
They laugh teenage-sounding laughs. Unrestrained, face-wrinkling laughter.
The world could learn a lot from teenagers.
They are horseplaying. Their mothers are fussing. One girl trips. She nearly face-plants into where I’m sitting. My life flashes before my eyes. She almost breaks my nose. She spills my coffee.
It’s a minor disaster, but if she would’ve landed a few inches closer, my nose would be bleeding all over the sports page.
“OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD,” says the girl. “I’MSOSORRY.”
“Don’t be,” I say. “It was lousy coffee.”
The girls eventually calm down. After a few moments, they sit on gym bags and start singing.
The lobby fills with voices. Everyone nearby stops to listen. People on the third, fourth, and fifth-level balconies lean over railings.
One woman says to me, “These girls love to sing on the bus, it keeps’em entertained.”
Another woman adds, “It’s a lot better than when they hock spit on cars during traffic.”
The song finishes. A mother instructs them to sing “This Little Light of Mine.”
The girls do a slow rendition. It’s touching music. They sound like cherubs. Very, very tall, aggressive, undefeated cherubs.
Their voices rise upward toward the ceiling. These are America’s girls. They come in all shapes, sizes, heights, body-fat-percentages, and colors.
“This is our theme song,” says one coach. “We let ANY girl on our team, we’ll teach any girl to be confident, even if she feels fat, or not pretty enough. We want girls to shine.”
Shining is easier said than done. This world is one big advertisement. Everywhere you look is another glowing billboard with perfect abdominals.
Another day, another TV spokesperson tells you what to think, how to feel, who to hate, and what kind of perfume to buy for Christmas.
Popstars, tell girls how to dress, and what size their waistlines should be. Supermodels advertise plastic hindparts.
The entertainment industry is a joke.
When the team finishes singing, everyone in the lobby claps. Even maids applaud.
The girl who assaulted me says, “Sorry about your coffee.”
She’s at least four inches taller than I.
Then, the girls leave. They board a bus with bags over shoulders. They are kids. And even though I don’t know them, these girls make me proud.
I wish you could see them. Tall, short, broad, narrow, big, small, skinny, un-skinny, black, white, brown, curly-haired, and redhead.
The fate of our society is in their hands, whether they know it or not. One day, they’ll be running this world. And I believe they’ll do a better job than we have done.
Either way, I wish all girls knew how to be themselves. I wish no woman felt like hiding under a bushel. I wish every girl, lady, and granny had the audacity to let her light shine.
I didn’t care for that coffee, anyway.
Good luck at your game, girls.