Taylor was a basketball girl. She’d been raised watching sports with her family, but she hadn’t really cared until she’d turned on a game of the Tennessee Lady Vol’s and saw their head coach. Suddenly, she was hooked. Not only did she watch every game she could, but she began playing basketball herself, dreaming to play under Pat Summit one day.
Sure, she’d watch other sports and supported Tennessee out of loyalty to her beloved Vol’s, but she didn’t actually care about them the same way. (Okay, it had been pretty great the years that Peyton Manning was Tennessee’s quarterback, but that was mostly for bragging rights.)
But when it came down to it, her love of flying was stronger than her love of basketball, and she turned down the chance to play for her beloved team when she decided to join the Air Force on a command route instead.
When she’d joined the Air Force, she had pretty much fallen away from watching sports, even if she did keep up with her team. There was just too much to do, and no guarantee that she would even be free to watch.
So when she joined the Power Rangers, she didn’t even think to ask Princess Shayla if there was any way to watch it.
Which was why, only a few weeks after they had defeated the Duke Orgs and learned Master Org’s identity as Viktor Adler, Taylor was shocked when she heard Alyssa cursing and screaming from a small room in the Animarium. For a minute, she thought that somehow Orgs had invaded, and ran towards her. Alyssa’s yells were pretty indistinct, other than the occasional profanity and one very loud “what did you think you were doing?” That made her pause, wondering if it was possible that maybe Cole or Max did something to aggravate Alyssa, but it still was definitely something to check on.
She was not at all expecting to see Alyssa standing in front of a small stream of the Sacred Waters, which appeared to be projecting a football game.
“What the hell was that call? Why did we hire you as offensive coordinator again?”
“What are you doing?” Taylor asked, raising an eyebrow.
“College football season just started, and my Tigers are playing like crap. I mean, they’re better than last year, we barely made it to a bowl last year, but hiring new defensive and offensive coordinators was supposed to fix that! If we lose to USC I’m not going to be able to show my face at home again!”
“I didn’t realize you watched football,” Taylor said in surprise, as she sat down to watch the game with her.
Alyssa laughed. “Everyone in my family does, but they’re mostly Alabama fans, and I started watching Auburn in protest. Besides, I like their mascots.” She smiled at Taylor, could understand that, with the Tigers and all.
“Makes sense,” she agreed. “So what’s going on that you’re yelling about?” She wasn’t even sure why she bothered to ask, as the Auburn quarterback threw a pass that was nearly intercepted. “Okay, I guess I can see.”
Alyssa sighed. “Our quarterback is trash, and we have no coordinators, and I know I shouldn’t be judging them in their first year, but this does not bode well for the future!” She hesitated. “Do you have a team?”
“I almost played basketball for Tennessee.”
Alyssa laughed, and started humming Rocky Top. At Taylor’s surprised look, she quickly explained that she’d had to hear it every time Auburn played them, and also she made it her business to know about all the SEC schools.
“So how did you get football to play here, anyway?” Taylor was wishing she’d thought of it
“I asked Princess Shayla if it was possible. I’m glad she was able to figure out how to do this,” she said, waving her hand at the screen, which was currently blank, and Taylor assumed that it wasn’t showing the commercials. “If she hadn’t, I’d be losing a lot of money each Saturday going to sports bars.”
The game came back on, and Taylor listened as Alyssa gave a running commentary, complete with facts about the history of Auburn, what the coaches had done in previous seasons, and explanations about how the game worked. It was fascinating and Taylor was loving how animated Alyssa was as she explained things to her. Alyssa’s face had completely lit up, and Taylor was hanging on every word. (And it was certainly interesting to hear the range of Alyssa’s vocabulary.)
Unfortunately, the game came to a disappointing end with an Auburn loss.
“I’m sorry,” Taylor said, not really knowing what else there was to say.
“It’s not your fault,” Alyssa sighed. “I should have expected it, what with going against a ranked team and our quarterback and everything. But at least we’ve got a bodybag team next week, so they’ve got time to get better.”
“Do you mind if I watch with you next week?” Taylor asked. “I really enjoyed watching you rant.”
Alyssa smiled. “You liked that? I mean, I know exactly how I sound when I get into it, I’ve scared people away before.”
“I thought you looked beautiful,” Taylor blurted out. “And I loved seeing be so passionate about it, how can anyone not like seeing that?”
“Then I definitely would love to watch with you next week.”
“It’s a date,” Taylor said, and then blushed. “I mean, it doesn’t have to be, we could just be hanging out.” Taylor winced as she realized that she was probably making this incredibly awkward.
“I’d love it to be a date,” Alyssa said. “I told you I love both of their mascots. The team name might be the Tigers, but the fans yell ‘War Eagle’ and one soars around the stadium.”
“That’s…” Taylor didn’t have the words. “Well, I guess I found a football team.”
“And hopefully a girlfriend,” Alyssa added, as she took Taylor’s hand.