The whole Wildkats team greeted each other warmly as they began to load onto the bus. They had worked so hard for this weekend. Winning and going to Depaw was an honor for the Special Olympics teams and they looked forward to it every winter. They had practiced hard and won many basketball games, but this was without a doubt their most favorite time. Arctic Fox smiled as she watched her friends. They were all doing different things as the bus driver started up the bus. Chinstrap Penguin was laughing at the silly jokes Margay was telling her. Northern Hobby was reading The Fellowship of the Ring (Legolas the Elf was her favorite character), and Rose Ringed Parakeet and Genet were playing a travel game.
Turtle Dove was gently drawing with her wing tip on the frost covered window; it looked like she was making a Santa Claus. Water Buck had drifted off to sleep at the back of the bus and was gently snoring. European Kestrel and Bearded Seal were laughing about something crazy that one of their brothers had done. Their coaches seemed to be enjoying themselves too. Arctic Fox turned on her Walkman tape player and sang along to her favorite songs.
It took a long time, but they finally got to the hotel they usually stayed at.
"I can't wait to go swimming!" Arctic Fox said and her friends agreed. Not only did this hotel have a huge swimming pool, it also had a hot tub in the same area! Their coaches, Canadian Goose and Asian Elephant along with their bus driver, Greylag Goose, helped to check the team in and also helped with unloading the bus. And they carried the suitcases upstairs when someone had trouble doing it themselves.
Arctic Fox really loved this hotel and as she looked around, her smile grew bigger. There was a long light red and dark blue carpet that stretched all the way from the first stair to the last room of the hotel. Elevators were within easy reach. Soda and candy vending machines were on all the floors that had rooms. The hallway walls were a soft off-white color and the ceiling was painted white.
She looked out the window, sighing happily. The sun was still in the sky despite the snow that had fallen on the drive up to the hotel.
Canada Goose smiled. "I'll go get the uniforms so you guys can get ready."
Arctic Fox nodded. "Thanks, coach," she said. Canada Goose hugged her gently and then went to her huge duffel bag.
Chinstrap Penguin went into her room and then came out again, holding her basketball shoes. "Hey, Arc. You ready for the games?"
Arctic Fox patted her friend's wing. "Sure am! How about you?"
"Can't wait!" Chinstrap Penguin gave a little hop and they both laughed.
When Canada Goose came to them, she handed them their uniforms. "Hurry and get changed," she said. "Our first game starts at 1:00." It was 11:15.
After they were all ready, they met their friends downstairs and then loaded back onto the bus that took them to Depaw School. Margay was sitting beside Arctic Fox on the way there. "I wonder who we will play?" she asked. Arctic Fox smiled at the question; she was also curious to know. Their coach Asian Elephant over heared them. "We are playing The Mighty Hornets."
When they reached the school they went to a room to have their team pictures taken. They got drinks and went to their basketball court. They were on court number one for their first game.
Asian Elephant chose the players for the 1st quarter of the game and so did Gray Partridge who was the coach of the Mighty Hornets. The teams shook hands and then started. Waterbuck and Rock Wallaby were the centers. Tawny Owl, Northern Hobby, Bearded Seal and Raccoon Dog were the forwards. Genet, Eclectus Parrot, Margay and Great Spotted Woodpecker were the guards.
They stood in a circle in the middle of the court as the centers tried to hit the ball to their teammates. Margay caught it and dribbled the ball down the court as Great Spotted Woodpecker and the others raced down towards the hoop. Margay passed the ball to Waterbuck, who shot it into the hoop quickly, and made points for the Wildkats.
Then the other team had a turn to get the ball for their team. Eclectus Parrot scooped it up when Rock Wallaby lost it. Genet blocked Raccoon Dog from getting the ball. Tawny Owl got it instead and made a basket. The Wildkats had a chance again as Bearded Seal passed the ball to Northern Hobby who dribbled it to their basket and made a layup into the hoop. It was the other team's turn again. Rock Wallaby passed the ball to Eclectus Parrot but Margay got in her face and blocked the shot.
Waterbuck stole the ball and raced to her team's basket and dipped the ball into the hoop. Asian Elephant called them to her and she put new players in. Gray Partridge did the same for The Mighty Hornets
Then it was the other team's turn again. Black Backed Jackalpassed the ball to mountain lion but Rose Ringed Parakeet stole it from them and passed the ball to Artic Fox who made a point for the Wildkats. Peregrine Falcon passed the ball to Skylark who threw it to Weddell Seal who made 2 points for their team. Turtle Dove dribbled into the middle then passed the ball to European Kestrel and she dunked it into the basket. By the 4th quarter Wildkats had 22 points and the other team had 19.
Eclectus Parrot passed the ball to Skylark and she passed it to Tawny Owl who made 3 points. Rose ringed Parakeet passed the ball to Northern Hobby who made 3 points for the Wildkats. Mountain Lion dribbled down the court but Artic Fox blocked her path and Margay stole the ball making a mad dash for the Wildkats hoop and made 2 points for the Wildkats. The buzzer went off and everyone cheered for the Wildkats because they won and for the other team because they were good sports.
The coaches hugged them, and then lead the teams to the bathroom to get changed into their everyday clothes. "That was a great game today, girls!" European Wildcat said to them as they came out of the bathroom and they thanked him then theysat on benches to watch the other teams play. After that all the teams and coaches stood in the hallway in a long line for the basketball parade. Chinstrap Penguin whistled softly and the coaches smiled at them. "There's a lot of teams here!" Chinstrap Penguin said laughing. Rose ringed Parakeet tapped her bill in excitement as the line started moving as the teams where called by name.
The Wildkats walked proudly in front of parents, friends, family and others as their team name was called. Northern Hobby and Waterbuck carried their banner as the others followed them. After the parade they went to a restaurant and ordered their food. While they were eating they talked together.
"You guys did really well today. I'm proud of you." Asian Elephant beamed at them.
Greylag Goose agreed, "Don't forget to get some rest tonight. You will want to be ready for tomorrow."
"That's right." Canada Goose agreed.
Genet smiled as she ate, she was picturing the pool in her head.
"Is it ok if I go swimming when we get back to the hotel?" She asked.
"Yes, it's alright Honey. In fact I'm planning doing that too." Asian Elephant replied.
"A swim sounds really nice." Turtle Dove said and looked over at European Kestrel "We could play water ball if you want."
European Kestrel agreed to her friend's idea.
Back at the hotel some of the teams went swimming while the others found other things to with which to amuse themselves. Rose Ringed Parakeet took a long hot bath with a sweet herb salt mix. Water Buck and Canada Goose played checkers and then chess.
Meanwhile in the pool area Chinstrap Penguin, European Kestrel , Turtle Dove and Bearded Seal played water ball with some friends from other basketball teams and they were having a blast. Greylag goose, Northern Hobby and Genet were playing tag in the pool. Asian Elephantswam laps. Arctic Fox and Margay got out of the pool and went into the hot tub, the water felt so good and warm after being in the cold pool water. After a couple hours everyone got out of the pool and hot tub, got dried off, and changed in a locker room and went to their rooms for the night.
Margay saw her friend coloring at their table and asked if she could join her.
"Sure. Which coloring book do you want?"
Arctic Fox asked.
"The one with the kitty."
Margay replied and Arctic Fox handed it to her friend. She was coloring in a puppy one. Margay smiled and pointed to the pictures in her friend's book.
"Those are really cute."
Arctic Fox laughed softly in agreement.
"I think they're cute too. I adore puppies."
Margay nodded as she started coloring in her own book.
"What kind of dog is that?"
Arctic Fox smiled glad to share what she knew.
"My sister and I call it a Cloud puppy, but its real name is the Biscon Frise."
"Well it certainly looks like a cloud."
Arctic Fox chuckled too and then showed her friend another page she had already colored.
"One of my other favorites is this little guy."
Her friend looked at her in question.
"What's that one called?"
Arctic Fox grinned at a memory.
"This little sweet heart is a Lhasa Apso. I love reading about dogs and dreaming of which ones I'd like to have when i grow up."
"You would make a dog's day."
Arctic Fox went back to the page she had been coloring.
"My family used to have a Lhasa Apso named Sassy."
Margay smiled as she colored.
"Tell me about her."
So as Margay and Arctic Fox continued to color the girls talked for a long time about their pets after that they got ready for bed.
"Goodnight, Margay. I am glad you are my friend. I love you."
"I love you too, Arctic Fox. Goodnight."
The next day Canada Goose knocked on the Wildkats doors.
"Wake up and come have breakfast."
She called out to them. They all got up, went into the kitchen and ate. Then they went to the bathrooms to change and then got on the bus to go to Depaw school. That day they were playing a different team called Mitts. Canada Goose chose her first players which were Northern Hobby, Turtle Dove, Chinstrap Penguin, Genet, and Arctic Fox.
The coach Red Deerchoose her players too they were Arctic Hare, Lammergeier, Black Capped Lory, Crabeater Seal and Emu.