Sweet Valley High #70: Ms. Quarterback
The Big Deal: Big football game against Big Mesa
Scott Trost, the guy who replaced Ken as quarterback after Ken’s “fatal” accident, is put on academic probation and can’t play football. Everyone starts asking Ken’s girlfriend, Terri, if Ken will be trying out for the open position. Terri is worried because Ken isn’t totally recovered from his head injury and his eyesight hasn’t returned completely. Ken and Terri go to the Dairi Burger and Ken spends the entire night talking to his adoring fans about the possibility of his playing football again. Terri is unhappy and realizes their relationship will change if Ken gets back on the team, but she acts like she’s just worried about his vision and stuff. She mentions these concerns to Ken in front of Winston, which pisses Ken off because nobody besides Terri knows he isn’t one hundred percent back to normal.
Liz does an interview for The Oracle with Claire Middleton, a new transfer student from Palisades High. Claire is really shy and doesn’t say much until Liz asks her about her hobbies. Then Claire brightens up and talks about football for a minute. Liz asks her about her family and Claire suddenly gets all withdrawn and shy again. Liz wonders if she has something to hide. Look, Liz, some people are just shy, okay? Back off. When she gets home, Liz asks Jessica what she thinks of Claire. Jessica says she’s been thinking of asking her to join Pi Beta Alpha. This surprises Liz. She’s sure Claire isn’t the sorority type because she seems like a tomboy. But then again, PBA has been under scrutiny lately for being “too exclusive” so Liz figures Jessica wants Claire to round things out. Jessica introduces herself to Claire after a football game and tries to be friendly, but Claire looks at Jessica’s cheerleading uniform and tells her cheerleading is sexist and she should play a real sport instead of just jumping around and screaming. Aw, hell naw. Claire is on Jessica’s shit list now.
Claire tells Coach Schultz she wants to try out for the team. He laughs at her and says she must be new to Sweet Valley. Jackass. Claire says she looked up some regulations and couldn’t find anything about girls on the football team. Coach says she can try out but warns her that she’ll probably get some teasing for it. At the first round of tryouts, Claire blows everyone away by actually being good. Terri thinks it’s great until she notices Ken noticing Claire. John Pfeifer doesn’t help by constantly saying, right in front of Terri, things like, “Claire looks pretty good in that uniform, eh, Ken?” When the first round is over, Liz tries to talk to Claire some more to expand on her previous interview, but Claire is just as close-mouthed as ever and doesn’t see why it should be a big deal that she likes football. I understand her sentiment, but she’s really rude about it. I’m getting the feeling that I’m supposed to be torn between rooting for Claire and rooting for Ken, but Claire’s a bitch and I don’t want her to make the team. But she will, I’m sure, because suddenly there are two quarterback positions open, first and second string.
Ken and Terri go to the Dairi Burger and Terri gets all upset when Claire comes in and Ken asks her to sit with them. Claire says she can’t, she’s just getting her food to go and her mom is in the car. Ken looks disappointed and Terri sits there feeling sorry for herself for a few minutes. Then Ken grabs his face and it’s obvious he’s having some kind of trouble with his eyes, but acts all stoic and manly when Terri asks him if he’s okay. Before the next round of tryouts, Terri goes to the girls’ locker room to put on some sweats and get some jogging in before all the chaos starts. She sees Claire staring at her open locker and crying. Taped to the inside of the locker door is a picture of a young man with a football. “To Claire,–with all my love, Ted,” is written on the picture. Claire notices Terri and slams her locker shut. During tryouts, Terri sees Ken stumble and she knows he lost his vision for a second. Later, she tries to tell him they have to talk about it, but he’s an idiot and tells her to quit mothering him because he doesn’t need her to take care of him anymore. He’s sure she just wants to keep him from playing football, which is ridiculous. Then he tells her to be more like Claire. Oh, NO he didn’t.
Terri helps Coach wrap things up and then goes to the locker room. She overhears the cheerleaders bitching about Claire. Jessica’s gotten them all riled up by telling them what Claire said about cheerleading. The whole squad has been charming a bunch of guys into pulling pranks on Claire. When Terri realizes they’re out for revenge, she tells them she’ll help them out. She tells them about the picture and Jessica and Amy decide to make up a cheer that ends with, “We know about Ted.” Oh, Terri, what have you done?
Liz is at home on Saturday morning, just sitting around revising her article about Claire, when Steve comes home, claiming he wants to see what all the fuss is about this girl football player. He glances at Liz’s article, sees the name Middleton and tells Liz about this football player at his college who died of a brain tumor recently. Guess what his name was? If you guessed “Ted Middleton,” you win.
At the final round of tryouts, Jessica and her band of catty bitches are all shocked when their new cheer makes Claire walk off the field. Liz and Steve go down to the field and ask the cheerleaders why they mocked Claire’s dead brother. They have no idea what she’s talking about and say the whole thing is Terri’s fault. So Liz demands Terri tell her what’s going on. Terri obliges, of course, and tells Liz everything. Liz says they need to go to Claire’s house right away and explain and try to convince her to talk to the coach about still letting her play. Liz! You don’t need to be involved in this! Terri goes to Claire’s alone. She apologizes and tells Claire she was jealous of her. Claire tells her Ken talks about Terri all day long. They call a truce on the condition that Claire will talk to the coach and Terri will talk to Ken. So Terri goes to Ken’s house and tells him how she’s been feeling. By lunchtime the next day, Ken and Terri are wonderful and Claire has apologized to the cheerleaders and is going to be second-string quarterback in the big game against Big Mesa.
At the Big Mesa game, Ken starts playing badly because his vision is coming and going. He tells Coach to take him out. Claire gets in the game and wins it. Of course.
In other news, Enid and her boyfriend, Hugh, have broken up. There’s a total of maybe five sentences dedicated to this development, but I thought you might be interested.
“Maybe they just had a fight,” Todd said. “You know how these things go. They’ll probably make up this weekend, and everything will be fine again.”
Well, I guess that strategy has worked out for you and Liz thus far.
Terri blushed and fidgeted uncomfortably with her clipboard. “I know it was dumb, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.”
Elizabeth took a deep breath. “And would it still seem like a good idea to you if you knew that not only was Ted Claire’s older brother, but that he died of a brain tumor?”
Ugh, fuck off, Liz! I HATE this self-righteous attitude she cops during this whole scene.
The Cover: Something is very wrong with Claire’s hand. It’s way too big or long or something to be coming off that tiny little arm. And I don’t care what John Pfeifer says, Claire does not look hot in those shoulder pads.