There was nothing quite like turning up for the team. It was rare that their team came to this small town on the outskirts of the country, and they definitely could not afford to travel to see them. But every third year or so—they came out to the little pitch that the town spent the better part of a month getting into proper playing condition. At that point—well, there was absolutely nothing that was going to put a damper on the fan’s enthusiasm.
Sera had been a fan of The Blackbirds longer than she’d even been capable of conscious thought. Her mother told the stories of Sera strapped to her back, not old enough to walk on her own or talk in full sentences, but she was still dressed entirely in black, the feather drawn intricately on her cheek, screaming utter nonsense in her mother’s ear every time The Blackbirds made a good play. Both her parents joked that her first real word was ‘Boo!’ when the refs made a bad foul call against the team.
So, today, she was more than eager to get going. She’d been very exact with the make up now on both cheeks, her hair looked like it might fly away with so many blackbird feathers stuck into it, and she was dressed from head to toe in black and blue. Her mother looked pre-exhausted at the sight of her daughter on the couch, and Sera would feel bad if she didn’t know perfectly well that her sports enthusiasm had been inherited. “Oh,” her mother said with feigned surprise, “Is there a game today?” she asked as she poured herself a cup of coffee from the pot that Sera had already made.
“Hardy har,” Sera deadpanned, “can we be ready to go in, like, an hour?”
“Hmm.” Her mother took a sip of her coffee and considered how much of her sanity would be at risk if she tormented her daughter too much more. “Your father’s not even out of bed yet. Do you really think that he can be dressed and ready to go in an hour?”
Sera jumped to her feet and threw her hand to her forehead in a sharp salute to her mother. “Permission to enter your room and rouse the troops, Ma’am?”
Sera’s mom gave a little nod of the head as permission, and waited as Sera sprinted off up the stairs. She heard the bed squeak, then a thump, and her husband shouting “Son of a Bitch!” Two beats more, and the muffled laughter and footfalls as her husband chase his daughter around the bedroom with a pillow, half threatening to knock her head off. It was the way of the game morning. She expected nothing less.